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Susan Owens: The Ghost a Cultural History

13th October 2017
Watts Gallery

Friday 13 October
7 - 8pm
Watts Gallery

Ghosts are woven into the very fabric of our lives. Their enduring popularity in art and literature, film and folklore attests to their continuing power to fascinate, terrify and inspire. Our conceptions of ghosts are rooted in our shared past — ghosts personify the layers of history beneath our feet, the old stories that refuse to be erased. But how and why has their appearance and behaviour changed over time? And what do the different forms they take reveal about them – and us?

Delving into a wealth of visual and artistic sources, Susan Owens introduces a wealth of spirits and apparitions from the walking dead lurking amid the leaves of medieval manuscripts to the uncanny presences evoked by contemporary artists, by way of William Blake, Henry Fuseli, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and Paul Nash amongst others. She explores the wide range of roles ghosts have played in Britain's cultural life as they reflect our changing attitudes, our hopes and fears.

Susan Owens is is an art historian and curator. Formerly curator of paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, she has published and lectured widely on British art.

In partnership with Guildford Book Festival.