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  • Do you really think that is funny? (Keynote Lecture)

Rayson, David, 2016, Conference or Workshop, Do you really think that is funny? (Keynote Lecture) at Rowlandson and After: Rethinking Graphic Satire, London, UK, 22 Jan 2016.

Abstract or Description:

David Rayson’s research paper was delivered as the Keynote Lecture as part of a collaborative study-day organised by Royal Collection Trust and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

This coincided with the exhibition High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. These works have long been recognised as offering a remarkable combination of satirical invention and artistic brilliance. The study-day, which was co-organised by Royal Collection Trust and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, used Rowlandson’s work as the starting-point for a broader art-historical examination of British graphic satire – whether drawn, engraved or painted on paper – between the later years of the 18th century and today.

Rowlandson and After was inspired by the recent upsurge in ambitious scholarship on the pictorial satires of the Georgian and Victorian periods, and by a desire to explore graphic satire’s long-standing identity as a fluid, hybrid form that seems always to straddle different worlds – art, journalism, literature and politics – rather than belonging fully to any one particular cultural sphere.
Through a visual presentation Professor David Rayson explored Rowlandson’s legacy – and no-pun-intended connections to British contemporary satire with connections to historically seminal figures such as Hogarth, Gillary, Cruikshank, Beardsley, and contemporary references such as Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman, Steve Bell, and the TV series Spitting Image. The lecture drew upon populist references such as the ‘saucy seaside postcards’ genre, TV soap operas, as well as indulging in the wonderfully guilty pleasure of waded through the Pinewood Studios phenonium that was the Carry-on Films.

Key questions were:
What can Rowlandson’s work tell us about the broader workings of graphic satire in his period, and how has it helped shape the practice of his successors?
What have been the distinctive formal, iconographic, technical and textual characteristics of this particular strand of artistic practice at different historical moments, and how and why have they changed?
What is the relationship between graphic satire and other forms of visual art?
What kind of artistic persona is associated with this form of practice – how has the figure of the satirist been defined and imagined?
How has the history of graphic satire been shaped by developments in print technology?
What is the relationship between graphic satire and journalism; or graphic satire and literature; or graphic satire and political discourse?
How might histories of graphic satire be related to histories of British humour?
How does graphic satire operate today – and how might contemporary examples of the genre be compared to the work of artists such as Rowlandson?

Contributors:
ContributionNameRCA ID
SpeakerHallet, MarkUNSPECIFIED
SpeakerGrandjouan, KateUNSPECIFIED
SpeakerThom, DanielleUNSPECIFIED
SpeakerKnowles, NicholasUNSPECIFIED
SpeakerO'Bryne, AlisonUNSPECIFIED
SpeakerHegenbarth, CarlyUNSPECIFIED
SpeakerSmylitopolouos, ChristinaUNSPECIFIED
SpeakerLing, ElenorUNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
School or Centre: School of Fine Art
Funders: Paul Mellon Research Centre, London, Queens Gallery, London
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2016 23:02
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2016 23:02
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/2408

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