Royal Academy

Kelley and Sha, "The Sister Arts Go Digital: The Romantic Circles Art Gallery"

Digitizing Romanticism

"The Sister Arts Go Digital: The Romantic Circles Art Gallery"

Theresa Kelley, University of Texas
Richard Sha, American University


Prepared for "Digitizing Romanticism," Session chaired by Neil Fraistat, University of Maryland

Virtual Gallery of Romantic Art Project
—in Preparation for the Romantic Circles Website

Co-Directors:
Theresa Kelley, University of Texas at Austin
Richard Sha, American University

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Gillray, Cruikshank & Thelwall: Visual Satire, Physiognomy and the Jacobin Body

In the years following his acquittal for High Treason in 1794, John Thelwall came to personify all that English loyalists most feared about the plebeian democrats of the London Corresponding Society. In loyalist discourse, he became at one and the same time, an intemperate but horribly effective Jacobin orator, and a covert conspirator working quietly behind the scenes to ally the Foxite opposition with the LCS and some of its insurrectionary fellow travellers. The apparent disjuncture in Thelwall's character between public bluster and private plotting presented a unique set of problems for loyalist caricature, explicitly demonstrated in the practice of the best known ministerial cartoonists of the period, Rowlandson, Cruikshank and Gillray. This essay explores some of the ways in which this dichotomy was resolved in visual culture, and assesses the impact of popular prints like these on the manufacturing of Thelwall's political reputation.
September 2011

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“A Son of John Thelwall”: Weymouth Birkbeck Thelwall’s Romantic Inheritance

This essay traces the meandering career of Weymouth Birkbeck Thelwall, the son of John Thelwall and his former pupil and second wife, the young and beautiful Henrietta Cecil Boyle. Born on the eve of reform and near the end of John Thelwall’s life, Weymouth followed in his father’s artistic, adventurous and amorous footsteps; creating his own peripatetic journey which led him eventually to a tragic and isolated death in colonial Nyasaland. His life narrative graphically illustrates how the Romantic idealism espoused by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century radicals; the reforms in education, and the civil and religious liberties which they campaigned for had unlooked for consequences, culminating in the late Victorian grab for Africa figured in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In Weymouth Thelwall we have a true “son of John Thelwall” and a strangely prophetic model of Mr. Kurz: citizen, artist, journalist and romantic idealist—with an eye to the main chance and a defiant propensity to take one too many risks.
September 2011

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Index of People

September, 2009

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178. The Earl of Buchan to Messrs. Longman, 11 March 1806 

September, 2009

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