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

Fall 2015-Winter 2016






























Bawdy Bodies image

Bawdy Bodies: Satires of Unruly Women

September 24, 2015 through February 26, 2016

Co-curated by Hope Saska
Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, University of Colorado Art Museum


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

with contributions by Jill Campbell (Department of English, Yale University)

Characterized by comically grotesque figures performing lewd and vulgar actions, bawdy humor provided a poignant vehicle to target a variety of political and social issues in eighteenth-century Britain. Bawdy Bodies: Satires of Unruly Women explores the deployment of this humorous but derisive strategy toward the regulation of female behavior. The exhibition presents satirical images of women from a range of subject categories including the royal family, aging members of fashionable society, disparaged mothers, political activists, gamblers, medical wonders, artists, performers, and intellectuals.

Bawdy program poster






Lecture and Workshops
presented in connection with the exhibition Bawdy Bodies: Satires of Unruly Women


Rock, Paper, Scissors: Dimensionality and Neoclassical Aesthetics in the Art and Fashion of the 1790s
Amelia Rauser
5:30, October 28, 2015
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall

Click for more information on the lecture

Workshops for Graduate Students

“We are an injured body”: Collectivity and the Female Body
Jill Campbell
October 2, 2015
The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington

Expressive Bodies in Eighteenth-Century Satirical Prints
Amelia Rauser, Professor of Art History, Franklin & Marshall College
October 30, 2015, 9 am - 1 pm
The Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington

Click for more information on the workshops


The 18-19th Century Colloquium Presents
"A Verbal-Visual Colloquium"
Featuring Jill Campbell, Amelia Rauser, Cynthia Roman and Hope Saska
Moderated by Ruth Yeazell
Thursday, October 29, 2015, 4pm
LC 104
Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High Street, New Haven

Click for an image of the colloquium poster

Public Lecture at the LWL in Farmington

"Bawdy Bodies: Satires of Unruly Women"
Cynthia Roman, co-curator of the exhibition

Thursday, January 21, 2016, 7 pm
The Lewis Walpole Library
154 Main Street
Farmington, CT 06032

Attendance is limited, and pre-registration is required through the Farmington Public Library. Click here to register.

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Future Exhibitions

Spring - Summer 2016

Gillray cobbett plate 1

James Gillray (1756-1815)
"The life of William-Cobbett, written by himself. No. 1: 'Now you lying varlets you shall see how a plain tale will put you down!'"
Published September 29, 1809, by H. Humphrey, St. James's Street, London
Hand-colored etching

James Gillray's Hogarthian Progresses

April 6 through August 26, 2016

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

Although long-deemed a low form of visual expression, graphic satire nonetheless attracted some of the most brilliant and creative artists in eighteenth-century Britain. The best graphic satirists produced highly sophisticated, erudite images that frequently engaged the highest academic traditions of narrative painting—sometimes in irony, sometimes in emulation. This exhibition will consider the adaptations and innovations made by James Gillray (1756-1815) to the narrative strategies of serial progresses most closely associated with the multi-plate “modern moral subjects” by William Hogarth (1697 -1764). Gillray’s single-sheet sequential narratives, such as John Bull’s Progress (1793) and DEMOCRACY; - or – a Sketch of the Life of BUONAPARTE (1800), and multi-plate sets including The Life of Cobbett (1809), among others, will be displayed alongside selected prints by Hogarth.


Fall-Winter 2016-2017

Caricature magazine v. 1 title page

Isaac Cruikshank (1756?-1811?) after G.M. Woodward (approximately 1760-1809) 
Title page to the Caricature Magazine or Hudibrastic Mirror vol. 1.
Published 1808 by T. Tegg, No. 111 Cheapside, London
Hand-colored etching
Folio 75 W87 808

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

October 10, 2016 through January 27, 2017

Co-curated by
Professor Rachel Brownstein, CUNY

and Leigh-Michil George, UCLA

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.


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Past Exhibitions

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