Conference

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Brilliant Women: Gender, Intellect and Representation in Eighteenth-Century Britain This conference is fully booked

A two-day conference at the National Portrait Gallery, 25-26 April 2008

This conference will address the themes of gender, learning, and display that are the subject of the exhibition Brilliant Women: 18th-Century Bluestockings (13 March-15 June 2008).

This conference has received support from The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and The British Academy

Conference Programme| Exhibition| Publication| Audio

Organised by the National Portrait Gallery in partnership with King's College London, this interdisciplinary conference will place the intellectual woman in her broader historical and cultural context. In the mid-eighteenth century, the literary and artistic woman was celebrated for the first time as a figure of patriotic pride and the index of national supremacy. Yet despite this period of ascendancy, the learned woman's position was precarious and scandals threatened to eclipse the fame of individual women, such as Hester Thrale, Catharine Macaulay and Mary Wollstonecraft. This conference will develop the themes of the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition Brilliant Women: 18th-Century Bluestockings (13 March to 15 June 2008) and will explore the achievements, representations and reputation of intellectual women in the eighteenth century.

Papers will consider issues of female agency, patronage and promotion; the relationship between internal and external brilliance; the influence of the collective celebration of learned women and the effect of the changing political climate on bluestocking careers. British and American scholars from a range of disciplines, including English Literature, Art History and Cultural History, will raise these questions and consider the visual and cultural impact of these 'brilliant women'. For a full programme, list of speakers and provisional paper titles, click here.

Brilliant Women: Gender, Intellect and Representation in Eighteenth-Century Britain is now fully booked. Urgent inquiries including inquiries about ticket returns can be addressed to Emma Middleton on 020 7312 2483. Any other inquiries can be emailed to brilliantwomen@npg.org.uk.

We will reply to all inquiries within 10 days.