Mark Samuels Lasner was the principal facilitator of this conference and related exhibitions, which was held 7–9 October 2010 at the University of Delaware (Newark, DE) and at the Delaware Art Museum and the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate (Wilmington, DE). Organized with the assistance of the William Morris Society in the United States, “Useful & Beautiful” highlighted the strengths of the University of Delaware’s rare books, art, and manuscripts collections; Winterthur’s important holdings in American decorative arts; and the Delaware Art Museum’s superlative Pre-Raphaelite collection (the largest outside Britain). All events focused on the multitude of transatlantic exchanges that involved Morris, the Pre-Raphaelites, and the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic movements of the late nineteenth century.
In addition to sessions featuring internationally known scholars and experts, there was a keynote lecture by noted biographer Fred Kaplan; demonstrations by leading practitioners who make and design Arts and Crafts objects; special exhibitions; an early music recital; and a performance of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest by the University of Delaware’s critically acclaimed Resident Ensemble Players/Professional Theatre Training Program.
For more information, including a list of speakers, go to www.udel.edu/conferences/uandb.
The University of Delaware Library mounted two exhibitions associated with “Useful & Beautiful.” “London Bound: American Writers in Britain, 1870–1916,” in the Special Collections Department gallery, curated by Margaret D. Stetz, Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Delaware, and by Mark Samuels Lasner, was open to the public 24 August–17 December 2010. A display on “The Multifaceted Mr. Morris” in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection room (Morris Library 115A) was also on view during the conference.