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The Sarah Cutts Frerichs Lectureship
in Victorian Studies

This lectureship fund, named for Sarah Cutts Frerichs AM’49 PhD’74, will support annual lectures on topics related to Victorian Studies — the study of English culture of the Victorian period — including, but not limited to, comparative literature, social and political history, and the histories of education, philosophy, fine arts, economics, law, and science.

April 11, 2011
“William Morris's The Woodpecker Tapestry: Evolution and Utopia”
Sarah Cutts Frerichs Lecture in Victorian Studies
Pembroke Hall 305
5:00 - 6:30pm

Prof. Caroline Arscott, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, will lecture on Herbert Spencer’s account of the emergence of psychological life (from physiological existence) in his account of evolution, and on Charles Darwin’s account of sexual selection in relation to evolution to investigate the temporality of The Woodpecker tapestry designed by William Morris in 1885.  The tapestry relates to the tale from Ovid in which Picus is transformed into a woodpecker.  Prof. Arscott will focus on the theme of transformation and raise questions about the temporality implied by the motif and by the verses added to the tapestry by Morris.  A particular relationship between the present and the future is posited.  An argument will be made that this has a bearing on the way that Morris’s tapestry offers a meditation on its own making.   

Professor Caroline Arscott is the Professor of Nineteenth-Century British Art and Head of Research at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Her study of the Victorian art world starts from an initial focus on modern life painting in the 1840s and 1850s, moving into work on the pre-Victorian period (in relation to urban topography) and on the late Victorian period (in relation to the Aesthetic Movement). She was a member of the Editorial Board of the Oxford Art Journal from 1998-2008. As Head of Research at The Courtauld she is responsible for the Research Forum programme of activities and for The Courtauld Institute’s research strategy.

Her publications include articles on a wide range of Victorian artists including William Holman Hunt, Millais, Leighton, Poynter, Whistler, Sickert, Tissot, Fildes and Frith.  She collaborated with Katie Scott in the publication of essays on art and sexuality, Manifestations of Venus, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2000. In 2008 she published William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones: Interlacings, Yale University Press, New Haven and London.


April 12, 2011
"Edward Burne-Jones's King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid (1884): Cryptography, a Pit and the Swing of the Pendulum"
Master Seminar
Brown/RISD Hillel, Meeting Room
80 Brown Street
9:30 - 11:00am

Caroline Arscott will conduct a master seminar for faculty and invited graduate students.

Assigned reading required prior to day of seminar. Those who would like to join the Master Seminar must contact Vanessa Ryan.

Click here for a biography of Sarah Cutts Frerichs.

For more information about Caroline Arscott.

To view a video of the lecture.

For a copy of the poster.