Curating the Caricature Collection at the Lewis Walpole Library

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Cynthia Roman, Curator of Prints, Drawings and Paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library will present the story of the library’s internationally recognized print collection. Often in W.S. Lewis’s own words, this talk will explore the commitment that he and Annie Burr Lewis shared to “make more use of political and personal caricatures” when building a research collection for eighteenth century studies that included Annie Burr’s celebrated chronological and subject-based card catalog. Reflecting on more than twenty years of stewarding the print collection, Roman will present both the Lewises’ vision of caricature as archival documents and subsequent curatorial initiatives to acquire prints that more deliberately embrace material, technical, and aesthetic considerations; circumstances of production, marketing and circulation including prolific practices of copying; as well as the legacy of caricature today.


Cynthia E. Roman, PhD, is Curator of Prints, Drawings and Paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. Her research focuses on eighteenth-century British art, particularly prints. She has published essays on graphic satire, collecting history and ‘amateur’ artists, and has edited and coedited collected volumes including Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill Collection with Michael Snodin (2009-10), Hogarth’s Legacy (2016), Staging The Mysterious Mother’ with Jill Campbell (Yale University Press, 2024) and Female Printmakers, Printsellers, and Print Publishers in the Eighteenth Century:  The Imprint of Women, c. 1700 – 1830, with Cristina S. Martinez, (Cambridge University Press, 2024).