Programs & Exhibitions

Study Days, Seminars, Workshops, Master Classes, Classes

Study Days, Seminars, Workshops, Colloquia, etc.

Master Classes Classes

Conceptualizing the "Age of Democratic Revolutions"

Character and Caricature

A Contest of Two Genres: Graphic Satire and Anglo-American History Painting in the Long Eighteenth Century

Individual Class Sessions

In-class instruction on campus


Study Days, Seminars, Workshops, Colloquiua, and Master Classes

The Library often offers study days, seminars, workshops, colloquia, and master classes throughout the year. The Lewis Walpole Library is currently offering a graduate student colloquium and master classes. Details are below.

For questions or more information please write to Cynthia Roman or Nicole Bouché

For information about other past seminars, workshops, and master classes, click here.

The Library welcomes inquiries about and suggestions for future study days, seminars, workshops, colloquia, and master classes. Please contact Cynthia Roman or Susan Walker

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Study Days, Seminars, Workshops, Colloquia, etc.


boswell image for lecture

Frederick George Byron, 1764-1792
Contrasted opinions of Paine's pamphlet
May 26, 1791





David Bell

photo courtesy of Joseph Bell


Graduate Colloquium

Conceptualizing the "Age of Democratic Revolutions”

David A. Bell
Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor, Department of History, Princeton University

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

4:00 p.m.

Hall of Graduate Studies, Room 211
1320 York Street
New Haven

What does it mean to talk about 'Atlantic Revolutions'? Professor Bell will examine how the concept has been formulated since the days of R.R. Palmer and consider the ways in which it is, and is not useful for historians of the period. 

David A. Bell is a historian of early modern France with a particular interest in the political culture of the Old Regime and the French Revolution. He earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1991. Prior to joining Princeton's faculty in 2010, he taught at Yale University (1990-96) and at Johns Hopkins University, where he held the Andrew W. Mellon chair in the Humanities and served as dean of faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Bell is the author of five books including, most recently, Shadows of Revolution: Reflections on France, Past and Present (Oxford University Press, 2016). He is currently working on a comparative and transnational history provisionally entitled "Men on Horseback: Charismatic Authority in the Age of Democratic Revolutions." He is also a frequent contributor to general-interest publications on a variety of subjects ranging from modern warfare to the impact of digital technology on learning and scholarship.

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Graduate Student Seminar

Character and Caricature

Rachel Brownstein
Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
and co-curator of Character Mongers, or, Trading in People on Paper in the Long 18th century

Friday, November 18, 2016
10:00 am to 3:00 pm

The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington

Caricature relies on a double take: you recognize both the person represented and the artist’s critical, comic view, register both the familiar and the strange.  Basic to what E.H. Gombrich called “the cartoonist’s arsenal” is the contrast between extremes, differences in scale (fat and thin, short and tall) that define a character in relation to another (the thing it is not).  Pairings proliferate, sometimes by accident, always by design.   

History has a hand in the process.  The fathers of Charles James Fox and William Pitt were also political rivals, and Fox in fact was plump and Pitt skinny.  But as Simon Schama imagines it, the artist James Gillray, commissioned in 1789 to produce a formal portrait of Pitt, could not but see him with a caricaturist’s eye, as “angular where Fox was sensual, repressed where Fox was spontaneously witty, … the upper lip stiff as a board, where both of Fox’s were fat, shiny cushions.”  Schama speculates, “How could he resist? He didn’t.  The ‘formal portrait’ looked like a caricature, or at the very least a ‘character.’” Is the one a version of the other? 

Coming with different questions from different disciplines, we will consider caricatures by Gillray and others, bringing fresh perspectives to the questions they raise about the relation of caricature to character and to being ‘a character,’ as well as to the trick of contrast, to historical context, and to point of view.             

The program is open by application. Preference will be given to graduate students. For further details contact Cynthia Roman

Yale Shuttle to and from New Haven. Accommodation at the Library’s Timothy Root House may be available at no charge upon inquiry.

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Master Classes


William Hogarth (1697-1764)
The Battle of the Pictures
. 1744/45

Master Class

A Contest of Two Genres: Graphic Satire and Anglo-American History Painting in the Long Eighteenth Century

Mark Salber Phillips, Professor of History at Carleton University, Ottawa
Cynthia Roman, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library

May 22-26, 2017

Centuries-old hierarchies of the visual arts have placed history painting and graphic satire at opposite ends of the spectrum. “History painting” -- high minded narrative art depicting exemplary heroes and events— carried enormous prestige, bringing fame to the individual artist as well as to the national school. In contrast, graphic satire was viewed as the lowest form of visual expression -- more closely connected to political prints than to high-minded "histories."

This residential seminar is intended to give doctoral students in a variety of disciplines the opportunity to consider issues and overlaps between these two narrative genres. Making use of visual material and textual recourses from the collections of the Lewis Walpole Library's at Yale, we will examine the often-embattled efforts of artists to construct new modes of visual representation as well as of narrative and history.  Through a multidisciplinary approach, we  will take note of a variety of key issues, including the theoretical context of Enlightenment intellectual history, the more focused discourse of art treatises, and direct encounters with the formal and aesthetic qualities of works of art. Among history painters we will give our attention to the works of William Hogarth, Gavin Hamilton, Benjamin West, John Trumbull, and John Singleton Copley, while among the satirists we will focus on James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, and Isaac and George Cruikshank.

The class will be taught as a combination of seminars, small group discussions, and visits to the Yale Center for British Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Most of the teaching will take place in the Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington.

The program is open by application. Preference will be given to graduate students. For further details contact Cynthia Roman

Transportation: Yale Shuttle to and from New Haven 
Accommodation at the Library’s Timothy Root House may be available at no charge upon inquiry. 


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Individual Class Sessions

The Library welcomes visits by undergraduate and graduate classes from Yale and other institutions.

Members of the staff are available to work with faculty and teaching graduate students to develop and arrange special sessions to present materials on individual topics or in particular formats and to talk to students about the collection. Members of the Library staff are happy to assist instructors in identification and selection of appropriate collection items for presentation in class.

Classes provide students with an opportunity for a hands-on introduction to eighteenth-century primary source materials.

Flexible teaching options:

The classroom

We are also happy to arrange transportation for classes between New Haven and Farmington.

For further information or to schedule a class visit, contact

Susan Walker, Head of Public Services,, 860-677-2140


In-Class Instruction Sessions on Campus

Members of the staff are available to come to class on campus to talk to students about the Library and its holdings relevant to the particular course. Presentations introduce students to the Library's collections as a source of material they can draw upon for their research and course assignments.

For further information or to schedule a visit to class, contact

Susan Walker, Head of Public Services, at, 860-677-2140

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