"Useful and Beautiful" Conference

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882),
    Water Willow, 1871.  Oil on canvas, glued to wood.     Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and
    Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935.

    "Useful & Beautiful" The Transatlantic Arts of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites” will be the subject of a conference and related exhibitions to be held on October 7-9, 2010 at the University of Delaware (Newark, DE) and at the Delaware Art Museum (Wilmington, DE) and the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate (Wilmington, DE).

    Organized with the assistance of the William Morris Society in the United States, “Useful & Beautiful” will highlight the strengths of the University of Delaware Library’s rare books and manuscripts collections as well as the University’s Art Museum collection; Winterthur’s important holdings in American decorative arts; and the Delaware Art Museum’s superlative Pre-Raphaelite collection (the largest such collection outside Britain). All events will focus on the multitude of transatlantic exchanges that involved William Morris, the Pre-Raphaelites, and the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic movements of the late nineteenth century.

    In addition to sessions featuring internationally known scholars and experts, there will be a keynote lecture by the noted biographer, Fred Kaplan; demonstration by leading practitioners who make and design Arts and Crafts objects; special exhibitions; and a performance of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest by the University of Delaware’s critically acclaimed Resident Ensemble Players/Professional Theatre Training Program.

    Fred Kaplan, the esteemed biographer and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will give the conference keynote address on Thursday, October 7, 2010, at 4:30 p.m. in the Reserve Room of the Morris Library. Kaplan is the author of many books, including The Singular Mark Twain; Gore Vidal; Henry James: The Imagination of Genius; Charles Dickens; Thomas Carlyle (finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize); and, most recently, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer. His lecture, on “Useful and Beautiful:  Henry James and Mark Twain,” is sponsored by the University of Delaware Library Associates and associated with the exhibition, London Bound: American Writers in Britain, 1870–1916, at the Morris Library.


    Online registration for “Useful & Beautiful” became available on Tuesday, July 20, 2010. One can also register by downloading a form and mailing it to Conference Services at the University of Delaware. See the [www.udel.edu/conferences/uandb/index.html] for further information including registration. The conference fee is $150, $75 for students; no charge for University of Delaware faculty, students, and staff. Registrations can also purchase tickets for the Resident Ensemble Players performance of The Importance of Being Earnest on Friday night, October 8, 2010.
    "Useful & Beautiful” is supported by Delaware Art Museum; Winterthur Museum & Country Estate; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts; William Morris Society in the United States; William Morris Society (UK); University of Delaware Library Associates; Faculty Senate Committee on Cultural Activities and Public Events; the following University of Delaware units, departments and programs: College of Arts and Sciences, University of Delaware Library, Art, Art Conservation, Art History, English, History, Institute for Global Studies, Frank and Yetta Chaiken Center for Jewish Studies, Center for Material Culture Studies, Office of Equity and Inclusion, Resident Ensemble Players/Professional Theatre Training Program, University Museums, and Women’s Studies; and the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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