Art Rentals in the Age of Jane Austen


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Texas-based professor and writer, Janine Barchas returns to New Zealand to share some surprising findings about early art rentals. Starting in 1794, a fashionable London print shop along Piccadilly began lending out folios of caricatures overnight for a fee. Proprietor S.W. Fores clarified to would-be customers that his rentals of single-sheet engravings in folios were transacted “on the plan of a Circulating Library.” Soon, his popular prints were also “lent to copy” by the month or year. The Georgian art rental business was the final hurrah of an expiring amateur skill that would eventually be downgraded by photography and Romanticism.

Please note: This is an online event – ticket holders will be sent a link to the live session ahead of Sunday 31 October. Tickets are available to active Members and those with valid guest passes only. Tickets are available on a pay what you want scale, meaning you can elect to register for a free ticket, pay $5, $10 or $20.

Janine Barchas is the Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor in English Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. She writes books about the so-called “long eighteenth century,” including most recently the award-winning The Lost Books of Jane Austen (2019), on which she gave a sold-out, well-received talk to Gallery Members in 2019. She is the creator behind the digital heritage project What Jane Saw. She has also written essays for The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and LitHub.


This event is part of our membership programme. Join us from $50 per year. 



Image: S W Fores, Folkstone Strawberries or more carraway comfits for Mary Ann, 1810. © The Trustees of the British Museum, purchased 1868.



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