Caroline Arscott, Head of Research, Courtauld Institute of Art
With a brief response by Jeremy Melius, Dept. of Art and Archaeology,
"William Morris's Woodpecker Tapestry: Evolution and Utopia"
"This lecture draws on Herbert Spencer’s account of the emergence of psychological life (from physiological existence) in his account of evolution, and on Charles Darwin’s account of sexual selection in relation to evolution to investigate the temporality of the Woodpecker tapestry made by William Morris in 1885. The tapestry relates to the tale from Ovid in which Picus is transformed into a woodpecker. Arscott will focus on the theme of transformation and raise questions about the temporality implied by the motif and by the verses added to the tapestry by Morris. A particular relationship between the present and the future is posited. Arscott argues that this has a bearing on the way that Morris’s tapestry offers a meditation on its own making."
Caroline Arscott is the author of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones: Interlacings (2008).
Monday, 14 February 2011Free and open to the public. Reception to follow
Cohen Hall 402
University of Pennsylvania