A Letter from the Editors
Welcome to the second issue of Materia: Journal of Technical Art History, filled with a wide range of articles documenting technical research from around the globe. We are proud to note that the majority of the articles included here are authored by students and early-career scholars, who contribute some of the most thorough research in our field but whose work often remains unpublished. As part of our founding vision for Materia, we sought to create a space where students and early-career professionals would feel empowered to submit their research and be supported throughout the editing process.
Annabelle Camp is the first student to publish in Materia and presents an unusual case study of a utilitarian object—a child’s overcoat from the Dolgan (tiajono) peoples of Siberia. Also in this issue are two articles about artists who have been historically marginalized. Annie Walke was a female artist working in Cornwall in the early twentieth century whose work has been all but lost to history. Acknowledging Walke’s legacy, Anna Vesaluoma and Maria Vittoria Pellini spotlight her paintings and poetry in their comprehensive study. Meredith Watson offers a fascinating exploration of Betty Blayton, an African American female artist and educator working in Harlem in the second half of the twentieth century. While Blayton has received increased attention in recent years, including an exhibition at the Mnuchin Gallery in New York City, few technical studies of her works have been carried out to date.
This issue also features some fresh approaches to the works of more fully studied artists. Ruby Awburn, Sophie Lynford, and Georgina Rayner contribute an illuminating study of the sociohistorical context and working practices of Albert Moore, a late nineteenth-century leader of the British Aesthetic movement. Their seamless, interdisciplinary collaboration exemplifies the possibilities that this research methodology can offer. Presenting the results of a collaborative effort with students from the Technical Art History programme at the University of Amsterdam, Abbie Vandivere, Carol Pottasch, and Indra Kneepkens explore how historical reconstructions can be used to clarify the historic practices of painters, in this case Rogier van der Weyden’s masterly painting effects, as well as how the appearance of his works has changed over time.
Kathryn Kremnitzer offers a new take on Édouard Manet’s watercolor practice, which to date has been a relatively understudied yet important part of Manet’s working process. Lastly, Rowan Frame presents research with a slightly different focus, in an article structured around the historical perception of a notorious nineteenth-century material: bitumen. Frame’s article provides a historiographic overview of conflicting narratives surrounding bitumen and how it has become linked to certain degradation phenomena in paintings, some of which may in turn have inspired twentieth-century artists to exploit these effects.
Finally, in addition to our excellent contributing authors, we wish to extend our thanks to several new Materia team members, editors LaStarsha McGarity and Anouk Jonker, and copy editor Katrina Posner. We would also once again like to thank our dedicated copy editor Mary Cason, who has been with us from the very beginning.
The Materia team