Visual Quotations: Referencing Visual Sources as Historical Evidence

Layton-Jones, Katy (2008). Visual Quotations: Referencing Visual Sources as Historical Evidence. Visual Resources, 24(2) pp. 189–199.



It is widely acknowledged that hitherto undervalued forms of historical evidence such as paintings, prints and ceramics should enjoy a higher status in historical research. The rise of cultural history in the latter decades of the twentieth century has cemented the role of such evidence in newly evolving historical narratives. However, the logistics of integrating visual references into academic writing continue to pose challenges for researchers and inhibit the use of such material in research degrees, journal articles and books. This article addresses the need to create a consistent and comprehensive system for referencing visual material in academic historical research and will argue that such a process represents a crucial step in establishing high-quality visual analysis for all periods of historical enquiry. The first half of the article outlines the obstacles facing historians who want to engage in visual analysis. The second half of the article suggests possible solutions for the challenges outlined, including the proposal of a new style manual to provide a consistent and extensive model for referencing visual evidence.

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