Is It Any Good? Prints, Drawings, and Paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library

Friday, September 22, 2023 - 8:00am to Friday, June 28, 2024 - 5:00pm
Lewis Walpole Library
154 Main Street
Farmington, CT 06032

Art historians, curators, and connoisseurs often pose the question, Is it any good? evoking a sense of quality manifest in canonical works of art. By contrast, when building a collection of 18th-century prints for research, library founders W.S. and Annie Burr Lewis envisioned an essentially archival visual collection. Yet, aesthetic, material, and technical attributes are integral to understanding the power of visual art and artifacts to communicate the histories they document. Asking Is it any good? This exhibition explores the intersections of quality and documentary value.

For the Lewises, prints were valued foremost as documents that would improve their library dedicated to the life and times of Horace Walpole and to 18th-century studies. The Lewises’ iconographic approach, however, does not preclude the importance of assessing what is good. This exhibition presents a selection of prints, drawings, and paintings at the Lewis Walpole Library to explore the intersections of quality and documentary value.