What's On 2017

Exhibition: From Italy to Britain: Winckelmann and the spread of neoclassical taste

  • 15 September - 15 December
  • The Staircase Hall at the Special Collections Service
  • Free

Illustration of a Herculanean dancerLike many antiquarians of his day, the German art historian and archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) first learned about the ancient world through immersion in literature. As a teacher then librarian in his native Germany, Winckelmann encountered the classics primarily through literary texts, as well as the souvenirs-coins, gems and figurines-that Grand Tourists and other travellers had brought north from their visits to Italy. Once he arrived in Rome, where he rose to prominence at Prefect of Antiquities in the Vatican, Winckelmann studied the remains of Greek, Graeco-Roman and Roman art on a larger scale. Through personal contacts, letters and other writings, Winckelmann influenced his and subsequent generations of scholars, aesthetes, collectors, craftsmen and artists both within and beyond Italy.

From Italy to Britain… explores his varied influence on the arts, through printed media, architecture and decorative arts. The exhibition, curated by Professor Amy Smith, curator of the Ure Museum, is part of the Anniversary celebrations of the work of Johann Joachim Winckelmann and particularly his influence on the reception of Classical art.

The exhibition is free and open to the public until 15 December 2017. For details and opening times, visit the MERL website.

Curator's talk on From Italy to Britain

  • Wednesday 6 December, 1.15-1.45 pm
  • The Conference Room at the Special Collections Service
  • Free, all welcome
  • No need to book

An image from the exhibition From Italy to BritainAlthough Johann Joachim Winckelmann may not be a household name today, his influence on British art, design, and architecture was profound. Our new exhibition, From Italy to Britain: Winckelmann and the spread of neoclassical taste, tells the story of his contribution to the revival of classical arts and culture in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Come and join co-curator Dr Katherine Harloe for a deeper look into Winckelmann's work, and discover why he had such a profound influence on generations of British artists, craftsmen and architects. This talk will be followed by an opportunity to view the exhibition

Exhibition: Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth press

  • 12 June - 31 August
  • The Staircase Hall at the Special Collections Service
  • Free

A picture of the open call for artwork celebrating the Hogarth Press centenaryThis exhibition, curated by Dr Nicola Wilson from the Department of English Literature, is part of this year's centenary celebrations to mark the founding of Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press. It features new artwork responding to the centenary, produced by letterpress artists and printers from within the UK and further afield. This is juxtaposed with original artwork from the archives of the Hogarth Press, along with woodblocks produced by Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry, and Dora Carrington. Other archival materials on show includes readers' reports, early Hogarth Press publications, letters, advertisements and order books.

 The exhibition is free and open to the public until 31 August 2017. For details and opening times, visit the MERL website.

Exhibition: the Caxton leaf: the story of an extraordinary discovery

  • 10-31 May
  • The Staircase Hall at the Special Collections Service
  • Free

A page printed by William CaxtonThis is a unique opportunity to see the incredibly rare page printed by English printer William Caxton in the fifteenth century, which was recently unearthed at the University of Reading. The exhibition tells the story of how this page survived, and how it resurfaced in our collections.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm (Thu 25th May 9am-9pm), Sat-Sun 10am-4pm.

Tales from the Stacks Book Club: Mr Weston's Good Wine by T. F. Powys

A wine bottle from the MERL collectionsA book club with a difference. Buy a cup of coffee, meet people and discuss books inspired by the University's extensive archives, rare books and museum collections. Each session is accompanied by a gallery talk or a display featuring items from the collections. The sessions are facilitated by academics and staff from across the University. The book club is free of charge, and open to the public.

In this session, professor Paddy Bullard will facilitate a discussion on Mr Weston's Good Wine by T.F. Powys. It describes an evening in 1923 when a wine merchant, who is not what he appears to be, visits a village in Dorset. The session will be accompanied by a display of items regarding the publication of this book from the Chatto & Windus archives, which are held at the University's Special Collections Service.

It would be helpful for you to have read Mr Weston's Good Wine in advance of this session. A new paperback edition of this text was published by Vintage Classics in 2014 (ISBN 978-0099589655).

Register your interest for this event by sending an email to merlevents@reading.ac.uk.

Tales from the Stacks Book Club: Two Stories by Virginia and Leonard Woolf

A set of books by Virginia WoolfA book club with a difference. Buy a cup of coffee, meet people and discuss books inspired by the University's extensive archives, rare books and museum collections. Each session is accompanied by a gallery talk or a display featuring items from the collections. The sessions are facilitated by academics and staff from across the University. The book club is free of charge, and open to the public.

In this session, Dr Nicola Wilson will facilitate a discussion of Two Stories by Virginia and Leonard Woolf. This was the first publication by the Hogarth Press, the publishing house which Virginia and Leonard Woolf founded in 1917. It contains the short stories 'The Mark on the Wall' by Virginia and 'Three Jews' by Leonard. The session will be accompanied by a display of items from the Hogarth Press archives, which are held at the University's Special Collections Service.

It would be helpful for you to have read Two Stories in advance of this session. A digitised version of this book is freely available on the British Library website.

Register your interest for this event by sending an email to merlevents@reading.ac.uk.

Tales from the Stacks Book Club: Ladybird

The Ladybird Gallery at the Museum of English Rural LifeA book club with a difference. Buy a cup of coffee, meet people and discuss books inspired by the University's extensive archives, rare books and museum collections. Each session is accompanied by a gallery talk or a display featuring items from the collections. The sessions are facilitated by academics and staff from across the University. The book club is free of charge, and open to the public.

In this session, professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein will discuss British Birds and Their Nests by Brian Vessey-Fitzgerald and Allen W. Seaby's from the iconic Ladybird series of children's books. There will also be an opportunity to visit the Ladybird Gallery at the Museum of English Rural Life.

Register your interest for this event by sending an email to merlevents@reading.ac.uk.

Tales from the Stacks Book Club: The Poetry of Bernard Spencer

Portrait photograph of Bernard SpencerA book club with a difference! Buy a cup of coffee, meet people and discuss books inspired by the University's extensive archives, rare books and museum collections. Each session is accompanied by a gallery talk or a display featuring items from the collections. The sessions are facilitated by academics and staff from across the University.

In this session, Professor Peter Robinson will facilitate a discussion of five poems by Bernard Spencer: 'In Athens', 'The Rendezvous' , 'At "The Angler"' , 'Boat Poem' and 'Traffic in April'. The session will be accompanied by a display of documents and books from the Bernard Spencer collection held at the University's Special Collections Service. For an introduction to Spencer's poetry and the collection at Reading, see our featured item on Bernard Spencer.

Register your interest for this event by sending an email to merlevents@reading.ac.uk and we can provide copies of the poems to you to read in advance of this session.

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