PUNCS is a fantastic new interdisciplinary forum through which researchers working on themes across the globe which speak to the long nineteenth-century can connect and discuss their research. In time PUNCS hopes to foster opportunities for collaboration and this was particularly apparent in the one-day conference event that I attended.
The last panel in particular, which looked prevalently at the methods through which every day offences were reported between 1880 and 1920 demonstrated strong links between people’s research topics as well as the overall potential that collaborative projects hold.
My own talk was titled ‘Canine Character: Reading the Dog in Victorian Visual Culture’ and briefly addressed some research points that have interested me recently. In particular I have been interested in exploring the impact of the dog fancy when it came to canine visuals and the notion of ‘reading’ a show dog for its aesthetic appeal. The impact of this move towards canine connoisseurship, I propose, had significant implications concerning how audiences consequently came to view dogs in imagery. The potential construction of a readable canine physiognomy and/or phrenology and the subsequent implications of such are of a particular interest to me.
The rest of the talks were intellectually rich and impressively diverse, including a talk on the reception of Vasari’s Lives of the Artists in mid-Victorian Britain by Dr. Jenny Graham, a reading of Plymouth’s own Cottonian Collection by PhD researcher Susan Leedham, an exploration into the theme of Mercy by Dr. James Gregory, and some insights into the lives of the working-class female when it came to Mechanics’ Institutes in Victorian Britain by PhD Researcher Doug Watson.
If you would like to know more about PUNCS then I encourage you to go and explore their site. No doubt there will be more engaging events upcoming.
My first publication–a article in The Arts and Popular Culture in History–has recently been published.
The article is a polished version of my talk given at a conference of the same name and is titled ‘Canine Contexts: The Potential of Dogs in British Victorian Art’.
Adapted from the 20 minute talk, the article is mainly a teaser for the potential that reading and understanding the context of dogs in British Victorian art can provide. Working from this base the article provides a case study of Ford Madox Brown’s painting Work, looking at the dogs in the painting and providing previously unasserted insights into the fifth dog in the artwork.
The book also includes many other interesting fields of research; including a look a typography and its significance in pamphlet literature during the late-sixteenth century, an interesting article on the role of Tommy Atkins, and an article looking at the Berlin Bronzes in the context of newspapers and journals of the nineteenth-century.
If you are interested in my article, or any of the others, then you can purchase the book here.