Redefining the Region, subproject 1: The Transnational Dimensions of the Region in European Illustrated Periodicals, 1842-1900


Sophie van Os MA (PhD Candidate)

Time frame

February 2020 – February 2024

Project description

The nineteenth-century European illustrated periodical press had a clear fascination with the region at home and elsewhere, and often sought to map out various distinct types of regional character, using engravings to outline specific traits of physiognomy, labour, and dress. The Illustrated London News (1842 -) in Britain, L’Univers Illustré (1858-1900) in France, and the Illustrirte Zeitung (1843-1944) in Germany all frequently published various illustrations of regional character. These periodicals did not only depict the European region at home and elsewhere, but also frequently directly copied and reprinted illustrations from other periodicals, and edited and translated the original accompanying captions and articles to fit the political perspective of the periodical in which they re-appeared.

Previous studies on the region, however, have thus far primarily studied the region in relation to nationalism, and have as such largely overlooked fundamental transnational representations of the region in the illustrated press and the circulation of local colour imagery. This project, therefore, will move beyond a nationalist framework, and instead examine the transnational dimensions of the region in European illustrated periodicals from 1842 until 1900. Illustrated periodicals will be treated, not just as carriers, but as active agents in processes of affect and meaning-making. In doing so, this project aims to provide insight into the ways in which regions at home and elsewhere in Europe featured in the periodical press, and, additionally, how visual and textual materials on the region circulated (in reprint) through this mass medium.


Image 1: “Rambling Sketches: Dutch Folk. – No. III.” Illustrated London News (21 June 1884), p. 601. Image retrieved from the British Newspaper Archive.


Image 2: “A Holiday Among the Lapps.” The Graphic (21 August 1897), p. 264. Image retrieved from the British Newspaper Archive.


Image 3: “Exposition Universelle. – Section Hollandaise: Types et Costumes Populaires, Dans Le Palais du Champ-de-Mars.” L’Univers Illustré (28 September 1878), p. 617. Image retrieved from Gallica.


Region, Europe, Periodical Press, Illustration, Transnational, Nineteenth Century, Engraving


Scholten, A. & Os, S.K.E. van. ‘Gij moet de heidegrond ontginnen’: De Maatschappij van Weldadigheid en de cultivering van de bodem in de negentiende-eeuwse pers. De Moderne Tijd. De Lage Landen, 1780-1940 5.3 (2021).


Part of “Redefining the Region: The Transnational Dimensions of Local-Colour” (P.I. Prof. Marguérite Corporaal).


Sophie van Os,