Call for Papers: Close Encounters – Cross-Cultural Exchange between the Low Countries and Britain 1500-1800 (The Hague, 22 September 2022)

On 22 September 2022, a symposium at the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History will mark the launch of the heavily annotated and illustrated digital English language version of Horst Gerson’s chapter on ‘England’ from his Ausbreitung und Nachwirkung der holländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts of 1942 (The Dispersal and Legacies of Dutch Seventeenth-Century Painting). For historians of Dutch seventeenth-century painting, in 1942, Gerson’s study of the integration of Dutch art in Britain was largely uncharted territory, although earlier British art historians, including Horace Walpole and C.H. Collins Baker, had been well aware of the involvement of Netherlandish migrants and visitors in art in the British Isles. The launch of the translated and annotated version of Gerson’s text marks the perfect occasion to discuss, contextualize, and rethink his original ideas in the light of present and developing knowledge.

The organizers welcome unpublished contributions on a broad range of areas relating to Dutch and Flemish artists, artisans and art production in Britain. These include: painting, drawing, graphic arts, tapestry, sculpture and architecture, collecting and the art market, as well as the contribution of Dutch and Flemish migrants to many forms of material culture.

Papers will be 20 minutes long, and might address the following themes and questions:

  • Fresh approaches to the careers of practitioners from the Low Countries at the English/British and Scottish courts, and in UK urban centres (including monographic studies).
  • How did those courts and urban centres function as hubs of cross-cultural exchange between individuals, and of production?
  • Less-studied works by Dutch and Flemish artists and artisans who were active in Britain between 1500 and 1800.
  • What were the workshop practices and techniques employed by Dutch and Flemish artists and artisans in Britain, and how did these inter-act with local artistic traditions and impact on technical and art literature?
  • What were the social networks and professional relationships that linked and supported Netherlandish and British makers, art dealers and collectors?
  • What was the market for Dutch and Flemish artistic goods in Britain, and how did it develop over time?

Academic committee

Karen Hearn (University College London), Angela Jager (RKD), Sander Karst (University of Amsterdam), Rieke van Leeuwen (RKD), David A.H.B.Taylor (Independent; previously National Trust and National Galleries Scotland) and Joanna Woodall (Courtauld Institute of Art, London)


Please submit a preliminary title, abstract (max. 300 words) and a short CV to Angela Jager ( and Rieke van Leeuwen (leeuwen@rkd.nlbefore 1 March 2022. Speakers will be notified by 1 April 2022. Selected presentations will be considered for publication.

Close Encounters will be a hybrid symposium to allow for national and international COVID-19 restrictions. Speakers and attendees may choose whether to participate in person or online. For those presenters who decide to come to The Hague, travel and accommodation expenses will be covered (in consultation with the organization).

Please contact the organizers with any questions concerning the conference and this call for papers.

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