Caitlin Beach, Columbia University and Annette Stott, University of Denver | Newberry

Caitlin Beach, Columbia University and Annette Stott, University of Denver

Friday, October 2, 2015

2 to 5 pm

Towner Fellows Lounge

Center for American History and Culture Programs
American Art and Visual Culture Seminar

(Re)configuring Commerce: American Slavery, British Manufacture, and the Sculpture of John Bell

Caitlin Beach, Columbia University

During the 1850s and 1860s, the British sculptor John Bell turned to the subject of American slavery, modeling statues that depicted women held captive and awaiting sale. Produced and reproduced in collaboration with design firms, these works were incorporated into displays of machine-manufactured wares at world’s fairs and international exhibitions. Focusing on these industrial modes of manufacture and commercial contexts of display, this paper examines how Bell’s sculptures of laboring bodies operated as material sites for exposing, obscuring, and confronting relationships between American slave systems and British manufacturing at a critical historical moment in the circum-Atlantic world.

Christian Eschatology in Cemetery Monuments, a Case Study

Annette Stott, University of Denver, School of Art and Art History

Using two sculptural grave markers as case studies, this paper considers some of the ways in which cemetery art helped late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Christians cope with death by expressing their faith in an afterlife. The design and purchase of unique family monuments provided consolation for the Thieles of Milwaukee and Alexander Ross of Denver, while also making didactic statements of their different faith positions with regard to death, life, and the second coming of Jesus. Rural cemeteries functioned as parks and these sculptures were intended to evangelize.

Respondent: Dr. Erika Doss, University of Notre Dame

Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically. For a copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.