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October 2011

In this issue:

I.    Tremendous Response to our 2012 Conference Call for Papers
II.   Second Book Published in our Britain and the World Series with Palgrave Macmillan
III.  A Recording of our second Online Seminar is now available
IV.  Two Pence:  Legacy of Lucian Freud
V.    Book of the Month
VI.  Featured Scholar

I. Tremendous Response to our 2012 Conference Call for Papers

The Call for Papers for The British Scholar Society’s 2012 Britain and the World Conference closed on 10 October.  We are happy to report that the response was overwhelming.  We have already begun placing individual papers into panels and working to find chairs/discussants for the panels.  Next June’s conference, at the University of Edinburgh, will consist of close to 50 panels comprised of around 150 individual papers from at least 17 countries.  In fact, only 30 percent of panelists who applied to the conference come from British institutions.  With 70 percent of potential panelists traveling from overseas we believe that this will constitute one of the most global conferences of historians ever held (at least in terms of percentage).  Decisions on inclusion in the conference will be made by 2 December for those of you that applied, but in case you missed the deadline we hope that you will have an opportunity to attend and learn more about Britain and the World.

II. Second Book Published in our Britain and the World Series with Palgrave Macmillan

The second title in our Britain and the World book series has been published by Palgrave Macmillan.  Science and Empire, edited by Brett Bennett and Joseph Hodge, joins Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon’s Imperial Endgame in our series.  Science and Empire is best described by the authors:

‘This new survey of scientific endeavor within the British Empire is the most wide-ranging yet published, examining the interconnections between science, the British Empire, and the emergency of a globalized world.  It identifies and analyzes the web of scientific networks crisscrossing the British Empire through which scientific knowledge and authority were produced, circulated and legitimated, critically engaging with new ways of thinking about networked connections across space.’

We are excited that Brett Bennett and Joseph Hodge chose to publish this groundbreaking work in our series.  If you would like more information on Brett Bennett or Joseph Hodge we invite you to visit their respective faculty webpages at http://www.uws.edu.au/humanities_languages/shl/key_people/academic_staff/dr_brett_bennett and http://history.wvu.edu/faculty_staff/current_faculty/dr_joseph_hodge.

The Britain and the World series has a number of titles scheduled for publication within the next year.  The next to appear in the series will be John Fisher’s monograph British Diplomacy and the Descent into Chaos.  Look for it to appear in mid-December.  For more information on all of our titles please visit the Britain and the World homepage on the Palgrave website at http://www.palgrave.com/products/Series.aspx?s=BAW.

All books in the Britain and the World series will be on display at the Palgrave Macmillan booth at the upcoming American Historical Association Annual Meeting in Chicago this January.  We look forward to seeing many of you there.

III.  A Recording of our second Online Seminar is now available

If you missed Dr. Martin Farr present his second seminar on Margaret Thatcher’s Britain you can watch the replay on our website at: http://britishscholar.org/outreach/online-seminars/.  Also, it’s not too late to sign up for the third installment of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain.  Sign up today for the 7 November seminar at: http://britishscholar.org/outreach/online-seminars/.

IV.  Two Pence:  Legacy of Lucian Freud

By:  Rebecka Black

According to the Huffington Post on 14 October 2011, a small portrait of a young boy painted by the late Lucian Freud, who passed away in July 2011, has sold for £3.2 million to an anonymous bidder. Boy’s Head, painted in 1952, depicts Freud’s neighbor Charlie Lumley who became a recognizable subject for British figurative painter Lucian Freud. Lumley, who is now 79, still recalls his visits to sit for Freud.

Lucian Freud is most remembered for his portraiture works and close friendship with fellow 20th century British painter, Francis Bacon. In 2008, Freud’s painting of an overweight nude woman set a record for highest selling price for a living artist’s work. Although the portrait of Charley Lumley is small, its selling price is representative of the stature of Freud himself within art history.

Freud, who was also the grandson of Dr. Sigmund Freud, is considered somewhat of an anomaly in 20th century painting. His painting style remained figurative – depicting recognizable forms – throughout the century despite the demands of Modernism for complete abstraction of forms, a la Jackson Pollock drip paintings, or the color field explorations of a Mark Rothko piece with its large blocks of color absent of any distinguishable forms or figures. Also separating Freud from the avant-garde of mid-century British art, specifically, was his figurative style’s distinction from Pop-Art, which is accepted as beginning in England with artists such as David Hockney, but made famous by American artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, among others. The slick mechanical style of Pop-Art which often included collage work provided a cultural critique of post-war consumerism and was in direct opposition to the painterly style of portraiture which emphasizes evidence of the artist’s hand through visible brushstrokes. Where Pop-Art attempted to remove the humanity, figurative works and portraits embraced the human form.

It was this figurative style of artists such as Lucian Freud which maintained a connection to the celebrated early 20th century portraiture traditions in England. Freud’s style of portraiture acknowledges this heritage by showing the subject, not as a sitter, but as an individual; Charley Lumley is not presented in ideal terms, instead he is presented as he is, a young boy perhaps bored, perhaps daydreaming, but still a figure worthy of study. It is this portrayal of value given to the figure which allowed Freud’s figurative style to weather the onslaught of mid-century abstraction and Pop-Art, which aimed to de-humanize art and emphasize formal aesthetic qualities or critique consumerism. For this reason, Freud’s works remain invaluable within British history and art history.

V.   Book of the Month

VI. Featured Scholar

 

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