Duggins’s research will examine the ubiquitous nineteenth-century album, which was a significant repository for a globalizing visual culture that was shaped by colonial expansion, maritime trade, scientific exploration, and industrial development. Composite artifacts, albums mapped the expanding world through the arrangement of drawings, prints, photographs, souvenirs, textiles, craftwork, and natural specimens culled from across the empire. They were also anchored in locality, materializing the microgeography of the environments in which they were compiled. Exploring a diverse range of albums arranged in Britain, Australasia, and the ports in between—Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, Algiers, Port Said, Cape Town, Bombay, Colombo and Jakarta—Duggins’s research project recasts the nineteenth-century colonial album as a global object refracted through a local lens. Her project aims to demonstrate that the album not only played a critical role in networking visual and material narratives of British culture throughout the colonies but also provided an intimate medium to assess the colonial landscape and mediate cross-cultural exchange.
Between 1876 and 1888, Lord Frederic Leighton distributed his “Technical Forms of Procedure” among the associates and academicians of the Royal Academy in order to record their materials and technique. While at the Center, Don will be examining a selection of paintings by artists who contributed to the “Technical Forms.” The information gleaned from the paintings themselves will then be considered in light of what these artists chose to include and omit in documenting their materials and technique.
Tucker’s research project, “Dangerous Exposures: Chemical Work and Waste in the Victorian Alkali Trades,” addresses the significance of the nineteenth-century alkali industry in relation to key developments in Victorian art and visual culture, environmental law, history and theory of photography, social reform, medicine, and public health. While at the Center, Tucker will examine how photography emerged in the nineteenth century as both a new mode of documenting chemical pollution and a technological process that was itself the product of a chemical industry that produced chemical waste and photographic pollution. The project, based on previous extensive research in chemical archives across northern Britain, offers new evidence of the forms and functions of visual imagery that shaped public awareness about Victorian chemistry in a period of rapid technological and commercial expansion; it also contributes to a large body of previous historical scholarship on photography’s own chemical processes and forms.