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  • Monday, October 29, 2018 - 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center, 6th Floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

We will be welcoming Sarah Guérin for a talk entitled: “On Ivory, Wax, and Paint: New Insights on Devotional Booklets.” Sarah writes:

The form of the ivory booklet was a luxury writing support typically used for jotting down notes, lists and drafts. These booklets, composed of thick covers and “pages” of thin wax tablets, were for writing of an ephemeral nature, not intended for the ages. A small subset of ivory booklets was endowed, however, with more lasting contents, that is devotional images rendered in paint. Close examination of the extant corpus of such works allows not only an attribution of these objects to a center of production in Cologne, but also enables us to understand the refinement of the booklet format to best present and preserve sacred images. 

Sarah Guérin is Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art at Penn. She received a B.Sc. from the University of Saskatchewan (2001), and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2009. Before joining the faculty at Penn in 2016, she was Assistant Professor at the Université de Montréal (2013–2016), and held postdoctoral positions at Columbia University and the Courtauld Institute of Art. Sarah’s research centers on the material conditions of medieval art, with an emphasis on the socio-economic circumstances surrounding production and use, including trade, artisanal organization, techniques, function as well as the theological conceits that influenced and enabled production. Her book manuscript, entitled Ivory Palaces: Material, Belief, and Desire in Gothic Sculpture, presents the first synthetic look at ivory carving from the Gothic period within its intellectual and social contexts. 

All are welcome! Those who do not hold University of Pennsylvania ID cards should bring another form of photo identification in order to enter the library building.


Sep. 17: Nicholas Herman (Penn): “The Book-Shaped Object in Renaissance Europe”

Sep. 24, 25, 27 - Rosenbach Lectures: Carlo Ginzburg (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa): Fossils, Apes, Humans: A Chapter in the History of Science, Revisited

- Sep. 24: “Paleontology and Connoisseurship”

- Sep. 25: “Gods, Humans, Apes: Art History and Evolution”

- Sep. 27: “Medals and Shells: On Morphology and History, Once Again”

Oct. 1: Whitney Trettien (Penn): “Digital Book History”

Oct. 8: Priyasha Mukhopadhyay (Yale): “Unread: A History of the Book in Colonial South Asia”

Oct. 15: J.M. Duffin (Penn): “Draining the Swamp of Arcane Legal Text: Reclaiming the Geography of Eighteenth Century Philadelphia”

Oct. 22: Katie Chenoweth (Princeton): “Printers’ Devices, or, How French Got Its Accents”

Oct. 29: Sarah Guérin (Penn): “On Ivory, Wax, and Paint: New Insights on Devotional Booklets”

Nov. 5: Margo Natalie Crawford (Penn): “The Textual Production of a Shared Black Edge

Nov. 12: David Norbrook (Oxford): “‘But a copie’: Lucy Hutchinson’s Life in her Texts”

Nov. 19: Samantha Sommers (Ohio State): “Reading in Books”

Nov. 26: Gary Dyer (Cleveland State): “John Hunt's Lord Byron"

Dec. 3: Mitch Fraas (Penn): “Boilerplate: Documentation, Paperwork, and the Persistence of Form across the Early Modern and Modern Worlds”

Dec. 10: Arthur Kiron (Penn): “Hidden in Plain Sight: Christian Readers of Rabbinic Literature in the Colonial Americas”