CAA 2023

The 111th annual conference of the College Art Association is scheduled to take place in New York, NY, February 15–18, 2023

HBA Affiliate Panel:

Drawing as an Art: Invention and Innovation in Britain
Session will present: In-Person
Affiliated Society or Committee Name: Historians of British Art
Laurel Peterson, Yale Center for British Art
Email Address(s):

Friday, February 17, 2023 9:00am – 10:30am EST

Panel Abstract:

In 1715, the artist and art theorist Jonathan Richardson described the practice of drawing as “the very spirit, and quintessence of art.” Drawing’s accessibility and speed primes it for innovation. Artists such as Thomas Gainsborough, J.M.W. Turner, Elizabeth Siddal, and Sonia Boyce have turned to drawing as a site of experimentation. Indeed, the utility, accessibility, and ease of drawing mean that it is practiced by painters, printmakers, sculptors, architects, scientists, administrators, and craftspeople alike. Despite its importance to the history of British art and architecture, rarely is drawing satisfactorily integrated into canonical histories, whether on its own terms or as a key link between mediums. This panel invites papers that identify drawings as sites of innovation and invention, produced across time, throughout Britain and its former empire. Panelists might consider the role played by drawings in the development of artistic composition, as a means of knowledge production, as studied and practiced within academic contexts, or as an end in itself. Papers might also consider the role played by collections of drawings and their impact on art making in Britain.

Panelists and Papers:

Zoë Dostal, Columbia University
“Leads the Eye a Wanton Kind of Chace”: William Hogarth’s Life Drawings of Female Models

Dominic Bate, Brown University
Picturing Harmony: Giles Hussey (1710–1788) and the Science of Drawing

Susannah Evelyn Blair, Columbia University
Drawing the Modern News

Christine Olson
The Surface of the Past: Drawing and the History of Ornament in Victorian Britain

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