When: Monday – Tuesday 17 – 18 December 2018

Where: 17 December: Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village (Compton, Surrey). A shuttle service will be available from Guildford Station. 18 December: 43 Gordon Square, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London WC1H 0PD

This conference accompanies a new art exhibition ‘Christina Rossetti: Vision and Verse’ at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village

Organised between the Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth –Century Studies and Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, this two-day symposium will include an opportunity to tour the exhibition and a launch of the new digital edition of Goblin Market edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra and Anthony Harrison.


Professor Lorraine Janzen Kooistra (Ryerson University) and Professor Antony H. Harrison (North Carolina State University): ‘Visualizing Christina Rossetti’s Poetry in Print, Pigment, and Pixel’

Christina Rossetti’s (1830-1894) poetry has inspired visual artists since it first began to be published in the 1840s. Artists who made designs to accompany her poetry in illustrated books include her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Frederick Sandys, Arthur Hughes, Laurence Housman and later Florence Harrison, Lucien Pissarro and Charles Ricketts. Those who engraved these designs include the prolific Dalziel Brothers firm and Joseph Swain.

This Autumn Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village will hold the exhibition ‘Christina Rossetti: Vision and Verse’, which is accompanied by a new publication Christina Rossetti: Poetry in Art (edited by Dr Susan Owens and Dr Nicholas Tromans, Yale University Press). To coincide with the exhibition, this two-day symposium will bring together established and emerging scholars in the field to examine Rossetti’s work in the context of the mid-nineteenth-century illustrated poetry book.  How did poets collaborate with publishers and artists in the production of illustrated poetry books? What role does ornament play in the formation of meaning? How did women poets work with illustrators and publishers?

We welcome proposals for papers and will be particularly interested in the following topics:

  • The Pre-Raphaelite Illustrated Poetry Book
  • The Illustrated Decadent Book
  • The Illustrated Poetry Book in the Digital Age
  • In the engravers’ workshop: The Dalziel Brothers and the Illustrated Poetry Book
  • Ornament, Colour, and Lines: the Visual Culture of Poetry
  • Poetry as Collaboration
  • Women Poets and Women Illustrators
  • Christina Rossetti as a visual artist
  • Christina Rossetti and the Ut Pictura Poesis Tradition
  • Christina Rossetti, Illustrated.

Abstracts of 350 words and biographies of no more than 100 words should be sent to Tessa Kilgarriff at assistantcurator@wattsgallery.org.uk  by Monday 1 October 2018.  Papers should be 20 minutes in length.

Postgraduate bursaries

Four postgraduate bursaries are available. Each bursary will cover registration for both days and up to £60 towards travel expenses. To apply for a bursary please send a two-page CV and a 300 word supporting statement in addition to your abstract and biography. In the 300 word statement, applicants should explain the reasons why they are seeking financial sponsorship and how attendance at Rossetti and the Illustrated Poetry Book conference will contribute to their research and professional development. All application materials should be sent to assistantcurator@wattsgallery.org.uk with ‘Rossetti bursary application’ under the subject line by Monday 1 October 2018. Any enquiries should be similarly addressed.

Supported by the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS): www.bavsuk.org.