Programs & Exhibitions


Current Exhibition Future Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

Associated Programming

The Lewis Walpole Library draws from its own collection of prints, drawings, and paintings along with manuscripts, books, and other printed texts, to mount several rotating exhibitions in Farmington each year.

The exhibitions are free and open to the public during gallery hours: Wednesdays, 2 - 4:30 p.m. These exhibitions may also be viewed during tours of the Library by appointment. Please call 860-677-2140 for more information.

The Library has also exhibited materials in New Haven over the years. Most recently, dozens of items from the collection were included in the exhibition "Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill," organized by the Lewis Walpole Library, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition was on view October 15, 2009 - January 3, 2010, at the Yale Center for British Art before moving to London to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Current Exhibition

Hogarthian Progresses image

Spring - Summer 2016

Gillray cobbett plate 1

James Gillray (1756-1815)
The life of William-Cobbett, written by himself. No. 1
Published September 29, 1809, by H. Humphrey
Etching with hand coloring

Hogarthian Progresses flyer

James Gillray's Hogarthian Progresses

April 6 through September 16, 2016

Curated by
Cynthia Roman
Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Paintings, the Lewis Walpole Library

Sequential narration in satiric prints is most famously associated with the “modern moral subjects” of William Hogarth (1697–1764): Harlot’s Progress (1732), A Rake’s Progress (1735), Marriage A-la-Mode (1745), and Industry and Idleness (1747) among others. Less well-known is the broad spectrum of legacy “progresses” produced by subsequent generations drawing both on Hogarth’s narrative strategies and his iconic motifs. James Gillray (1756–1815), celebrated for his innovative single-plate satires, was also among the most accomplished printmakers to adopt Hogarthian sequential narration even as he transformed it according to his unique vision. This exhibition presents a number of Gillray’s Hogarthian progresses alongside some selected prints by Hogarth himself.

PROGRAMS -- All programs will be held at the Lewis Walpole Library, 154 Main Street, Farmington, CT

Evening public talk presented in collaboration with the Farmington Libraries
by exhibition curator Cynthia Roman
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 7 pm
Space is Limited to 35. Advanced Registration is required on the Farmington Libraries events calendar.

Study Day
James Gillray’s Experimental Printmaking
Organized by Esther Chadwick, History of Art, Yale University
and Cynthia Roman, The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University
June 10, 2016, 10 am to 4 pm

Graduate Student Seminar
Collecting the Graphic Work of William Hogarth
Sheila O’Connell, Former Curator of Prints, British Museum
June 14, 2016, 10 am to 3 pm

Graduate Student Seminar
Connoisseurship: Graphic Satire from William Hogarth to James Gillray
Andrew Edmunds, Collector and Dealer
June 15, 2016, 10 am to 3 pm

Master Class for Graduate Students
The Comic Image 1800–1850: Narrative and Caricature
Brian Maidment, Professor of the History of Print, Liverpool John Moores University
Cynthia Roman, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library
September 14—16, 2016, 3 pm on the 14th to 1 pm on the 16th


Master Class for Graduate Students
A Contest of Two Genres: Graphic Satire and British 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
Now May 22–26, 2017

Write to Cynthia Roman at for more information

{back to top}

Future Exhibitions


Fall - Winter 2016-2017


James Gillray (1756-1815)
High change in Bond Street.
Published March 27th 1796 by H. Humphrey
Etching with hand coloring

Character Mongers, or, Trading in People on Paper in the Long 18th Century

October 10, 2016 through January 27, 2017

Co-curated by
Rachel Brownstein, Professor Emerita, CUNY

and Leigh-Michil George, Pasadena City College

In the course of the long eighteenth century—the Age of Caricature, and of The Rise of the Novel—the British reading public perfected the pastime of savoring characters.  In a flourishing print culture, buying and selling likenesses of people and types became a business—and arguably an art.  Real and imaginary characters—actual and fictional people—were put on paper by writers and graphic artists, and performed onstage and off.  The exigencies of narrative, performance, and indeed of community conspired to inform views of other people—friend and foe, fat and thin—as tellingly, characters.  “For what do we live,” Jane Austen’s Mr. Bennet would ask rhetorically in 1813, “but to make sport for our neighbours and laugh at them in our turn?”

This exhibit will feature images by William Hogarth, James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, Thomas Patch, Edward Francis Burney, Francis Grose, and G.M. Woodward, excerpts from novels by Jane Austen, Frances Burney, Henry Fielding, and Laurence Sterne, and examples of graphic collections published by Matthew and Mary Darly and Thomas Tegg that marketed caricature as entertainment.

Public Talk

Character Mongers, or, Trading in People on Paper in the Long 18th Century

Rachel Brownstein
Professor Emerita, CUNY

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
7 pm

The Lewis Walpole Library
154 Main Street,
Farmington, CT 06032

Offered in collaboration with the Farmington Libraries. Advance registration required.

Graduate Seminar

Character Mongers, or, Trading in People on Paper in the Long 18th Century

Rachel Brownstein
Professor Emerita, CUNY

Friday, November 18, 2016
10 am to 3 pm

The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington

Offered in connection with the exhibition of the same title, on view October 10-January 27

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.

Spring - Summer 2017

Little Music print by Gillray

James Gillray (1756-1815)
A little music, or, The delights of harmony, circa 1810
Etching with stipple and hand coloring


The Land without Music: Satirizing Song in Eighteenth-Century England

March 1 through September 1, 2017

Curated by
Amy Dunagin
Postdoctoral Associate, European Studies Council, Yale University, and Managing Editor, Eighteenth-Century Studies

Music pervaded public and private spaces in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England; yet, in 1904, German critic Oscar Adolf Hermann Schmitz, heightening long-standing aspersions, dismissed England as a “land without music.” This unflattering epithet pointed to England’s meager contributions to the western musical canon during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—no English Gluck, Mozart, or Verdi; no English operatic or symphonic tradition that could rival those that flourished on the continent.  The English, critics like Schmitz suggested, were importers rather than producers—tasteless consumers and dilettantes rather than discerning, proficient practitioners.  This view did not originate with continental nationalists; in the eighteenth century the English often presented themselves as uniquely unmusical in print and in visual satire.  At once self-effacing and boastful, this representation asserted a national character too sensible, too chaste, too sober to permit the excesses of musical genius.  Bringing together satirical prints and documents pertaining to English music makers and listeners, this exhibition explores English attitudes toward music as lascivious, feminine, foreign, frivolous, and distinctly un-English. 

{back to top}

Past Exhibitions

Click here to view a listing of past Library exhibitions, some with links to further information including pdfs of brochures.