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English PGR Seminar Series: Charlotte Ribeyrol – Thursday 9 March 2017
9th March 2017 @ 5:15 pm - 7:15 pmFree
‘The Golden Stain of Time’ | Dr Charlotte Ribeyrol, Paris-Sorbonne University
5.15pm in the Lock-keeper’s Cottage, Mile End Campus.
Charlotte Ribeyrol is Associate Professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris and a Member of the Institut Universitaire de France. Her main field of research is the reception of the colours of the past in Victorian painting and literature. Her monograph on the Hellenism of Swinburne, Pater and Symonds entitled “Etrangeté, passion, couleur”, L’hellénisme de Swinburne, Pater et Symonds came out in 2013 and she has since co-edited two volumes on the subject of paganism in international peer-reviewed journals: Antique bodies in Nineteenth Century British Literature and Culture. (with C. Bertonèche) Miranda, n°11, 2015 and Late Victorian Paganism. (with C. Murray) Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens (2015). She is also a contributor to the forthcoming volume Pater the Classicist (OUP, 2017). In 2014-2016 she co-directed a major interdisciplinary project on chromatic materiality (POLYRE, IDEX Sorbonne Universités) with chemists and archaeologists, which led to the publication of a collection of essays entitled The Colours of the Past in Victorian England (Peterlang, Oxford, 2016). She currently holds a Marie Curie Fellowship at Trinity College, Oxford (2016-2018) to write a book on the colours of William Burges’s Great Bookcase (Ashmolean Museum).
‘The Golden Stain of Time’: Remembering the colours of Amiens cathedral’
This presentation will explore the key role played by the faded polychromy of Notre Dame d’Amiens and notably of its liminal Vierge Dorée in Victorian literary constructions of Early French Gothic, from William Morris’s pre-Guenevere prose writings in the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine (1856) to John Ruskin’s Bible d’Amiens (1884), Walter Pater’s ‘Notre Dame d’Amiens’ (1894) and Arthur Symons’s ‘Cathedrals’ (1906).
Although Amiens cathedral was the preferred Gothic edifice of neither of these authors, it became a place of aesthetic pilgrimage in the second half of the 19th century for many Victorian artists and writers who longed to capture a glimpse of the vanishing colours of the medieval past in a rapidly changing industrial world. The Vierge Dorée presiding over the South transept thus came to encode both metonymically and metaphorically the ‘golden stain of time’ which Ruskin celebrated as ‘the real light, and colour, and preciousness of architecture’ and which Marcel Proust would later interpret as the creative union of ‘the nuance of the hour’ and ‘the colour of the ages’ in his own reading of these Victorian literary encounters with Amiens.