The 321st meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Nov. 30, 2021 at 7pm ET. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email comicssymposium@gmail.com to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

Douglas Fordham: Between Caricature and Ethnography: The Illustrated Travel Book circa 1800

Art historians love categories, and there is a sizable art-historical literature dealing with caricature, on the one hand, and travel/ethnographic art on the other. But how clear was the distinction between “objective” ethnographic observation and visual satire for contemporary British consumers? Focusing on printmaking, and more specifically the medium of aquatint, this talk examines moments when the line blurred in late Georgian Britain.

Douglas Fordham is Professor and Department Chair of the Art Department at the University of Virginia. He is a co-editor of Art and the British Empire (MUP, 2007), and author of British Art and the Seven Years’ War: Allegiance and Autonomy (UPenn, 2010). His most recent book, Aquatint Worlds: Travel, Print, and Empire (Yale, 2019), examines the emergence of the aquatint travel book in Britain and the significant role that the format played in shaping British conceptions of India, Africa, and China.

Thomas Medland after Samuel Daniell, “A Boor’s wife taking her coffee,” 1806, aquatint and etching with hand-colouring, in John Barrow’s Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa