Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies “Imitation Banknotes and the Visual Culture of Paper Money in Britain, 1782-1847” Friday, March 7th, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

March 4, 2014

Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies 2013-2014 series will take place on Friday, March 7th, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Woodrow Wilson Room (LJ-113), in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Amanda Lahikainen will deliver a talk entitled “Imitation Banknotes and the Visual Culture of Paper Money in Britain, 1782-1847.”

Paper money – which had been circulating in Britain since the founding of the Bank of England in 1694 – was taken as a medium for advertisement starting in the early 1780's. Imitation notes made theatrical promises to their viewers by borrowing the social capital of paper money for their own purposes, often masquerading as actual currency. Once the culture of paper credit expanded beyond merchants and business owners after the specie crisis of 1797, satirists and radicals seized on the idea of paper currency as a subject of and medium for social criticism in a tradition often thought to culminate in William Hone’s Bank Restriction Note and accompanying “barometer” of 1819. This presentation will widen the history of imitation bank notes to include unpublished material and related graphic satires in Britain, focusing on a few satirical banknotes by John Luffman, Samuel Knight, and some unknown artists, arguing that this form reflected and helped produce the changing cultures of paper money during and after the bank restriction period (1797-1821). In addition to forming an important part of the history of visual culture and capitalism, these fake bank notes track two major dual and dueling cultural reactions to engraving in Britain: the naturalization of paper currency and the decline of graphic satire.

Amanda Lahikainen is an assistant professor of art history at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She recently completed a PhD at Brown University in the history of art and architecture and was awarded the Kluge Fellowship at the Library of Congress for 2012-2013.

Please join us for Amanda Lahikainen’s talk and for dinner afterwards.

The Jefferson Building is located between First and Second Streets, SE in the District of Columbia. Nearest metro stops are Capitol South (blue and orange lines) and Union Station (red line).

For further information, consult the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies website at http://wagpcs.wordpress.com/, or contact Sabrina Baron and Eleanor Shevlin at washagpcs@umd.edu.

For their encouragement and support, the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies would like to thank Dr. Carolyn T. Brown, director, and Jason Steinhauer of the Office of Scholarly Programs, Kluge Center, Library of Congress as well as John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.