Transforming Topography
London, The British Library, May 6, 2016

A conference organised by The British Library and The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

A conference promising to shed new light and fresh insights on the field of topography and on the British Library’s collection Topography is an emerging and dynamic field in cultural and art historical scholarship. The British Library holds an extensive and extremely fine collection of place-related material including topographical views, travel diaries and antiquarian texts, amassed by distinguished collectors such as Charles I and II, Hans Sloane, and not least George III.

The Transforming Topography conference is one element of an on-going research project which aims to explore the British Library’s topographic collections in the light of current research.  George III’s topographical collection, estimated at 40,000 maps and views, is currently being catalogued and digitised with a new web space due in 2017.

Delivered by both established and emerging scholars, the day will end with a chaired panel discussion, addressing the matter of ‘topography
now’ in art history, cultural geography and other disciplines.


9.30 – 10.00 Registration
10.00 – 10.15 Welcome

Chair: Finola O’Kane Crimmins (University College Dublin)
Paper 1: Daniel Maudlin (University of Plymouth)
A Narrow View of Nature: the natural world experienced through early modern itineraries, travel maps and inns

Paper 2: Kelly Presutti (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Louis Garneray and Topographical Painting as Border Control

10.55 – 11.15 Questions and discussion

11.15 – 11.45 Coffee

Chair: John Bonehill (University of Glasgow)
Paper 3: Matthew Sangster (University of Birmingham)
Accumulating London

Paper 4: Jenny Gaschke (Fine Art Curator, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery)
“Available for useful purposes” The Braikenridge Collection of topographical drawings in Bristol

12.25 – 12.45 Questions and discussion

12.45 – 13.45 Lunch

Chair: Martin Postle (Paul Mellon Centre)
Paper 5: Mikael Ahlund (Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala University Museum, Sweden)
Topography, iron-making and national identity. A British–Swedish comparison

Paper 6: Amy Concannon (University of Nottingham, Assistant Curator, British Art 1790–1850, Tate Britain)
A Place for the ‘full exercise of the intellectual powers of a topographical writer’: Lambeth’s topographical image, c.1800–50

14.45 – 15.15 Questions and discussion

15.15 – 15.45 Tea

Chair: Mark Hallett
15.45 –16.35
‘Topography Now’: Position papers and round table discussion with Adrian Edwards (Head of Printed Heritage Collections, British Library),
Jane Roberts (formerly Royal Collection, Windsor Castle), Stephen Daniels (University of Nottingham), John Barrell (Queen Mary,
University of London) and Stephen Bann (University of Bristol)

16.35 – 17.00 Discussion and wrap-up

Where: Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road


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