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Originals, Translations and Imitations: The Images and Texts of Alexander Pope

July 1, 2014

Originals, Translations and Imitations: The Images and Texts of Alexander Pope


A One Day Conference organized by Waddesdon Manor (the Rothschild Foundation) in collaboration with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art


Waddesdon Manor


Saturday 12 July


He employ’d the pointed Brilliancy of Wit to chastise the Vices, and the Eloquence of Poetry to exalt the Virtues of human Nature; and being without a Rival in his own Age, imitated and translated, with a Spirit equal to the Originals, the best Poets of Antiquity

Inscription above the bust of Pope on the Temple of British Worthies, Stowe


He has mellow’d the harsh Sound of the English Trumpet to the soft Accents of the Flute. His Compositions may be easily translated, because they are vastly clear and perspicuous; besides, most of his Subjects are general, and relative to all Nations.

Voltaire, On Pope and other famous Poets



This conference will explore some central themes running through the exhibition, Fame and Friendship: Pope, Roubiliac and the Portrait Bust in Eighteenth-Century Britain, organised jointly by the Rothschild Foundation and Waddesdon Manor with the Yale Center for British Art. At the heart of the exhibition are eight portrait busts of the poet Alexander Pope by Roubiliac along with various replications of this model. These images imitate classical portrait busts, translating the conventions of the originals into an eighteenth-century mode. At the same time, the replications translate Roubiliac’s original into other media, such as plaster or ceramic. At Waddesdon these various images will not only shown not only alongside both some of the most celebrated painted portraits of the poet and examples of his printed texts , but also juxtaposed with French works celebrating Pope and other writers. These various processes of imitation and translation could hardly be more appropriate for a subject whose contemporary fame rested partly on his own translations of Homer and whose poetry constantly imitated classical models. In its turn, Pope’s work was itself translated into French. All the papers in this conference will address different aspects of imitation and translation, in the form of both images and texts.









9.45                 Coffee and registration in the Manor Restaurant

and exhibition open for viewing


10.30               Conference begins in the Powerhouse:



Text, Image and Translation (Chair: Alastair Laing)


10.45-11.15     Nigel Wood (Loughborough University):

                         Pope as the Translator of Homer and Horace


11.20-11.50     James McLaverty (Keele University):

                          Pope in his Pastorals: Manuscript and Print


11.55-12.25     Valerie Rumbold (Birmingham University): The Use of Art in Alexander Pope’s “To Mr. Addison, Occasioned by Dialogues on Medals”.


12.25-12.45     Discussion


12.45-1:45       Lunch


Pope and the Image    (Chair: Martin Postle)


1.50-2.20         Caroline Pegum (Independent Scholar):

                           Charles Jervas and Pope’s Portraits


2.25-2.55         Malcolm Baker (University of California, Riverside):

                           For Friends and Admirers: The Sculptural Replication of Pope’s Image


3.00-3.30         Juliet Carey (Waddesdon Manor):

                           Pope and the Ceramic Canon


3.35-3.50         Discussion


3.50-4.20         Tea


Pope, Writers and France         (Chair: Malcolm Baker)


4.20-4.50         Russell Goulbourne (Kings College, London):

                           Voltaire’s Pope


4.55-5.25         Guilhem Scherf (Musée du Louvre, Paris):

                          French Sculptors and the Image of the Writer


5.25-5.45         Discussion


Followed by a drinks reception (Parterre or Manor Restaurant, depending on weather) during which the exhibition will be open for viewing again.

The fee for the day is £40.00


To book a place, please ring the booking line on 01296 653226.

Please let us know of any dietary requirements.


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