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A Companion to British Art: 1600 to the Present

Dana Arnold (Editor), David Peters Corbett (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-3629-7
588 pages
April 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to British Art: 1600 to the Present (1405136294) cover image


This companion is a collection of newly-commissioned essays written by leading scholars in the field, providing a comprehensive introduction to British art history.

  • A generously-illustrated collection of newly-commissioned essays which provides a comprehensive introduction to the history of British art
  • Combines original research with a survey of existing scholarship and the state of the field
  • Touches on the whole of the history of British art, from 800-2000, with increasing attention paid to the periods after 1500
  • Provides the first comprehensive introduction to British art of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, one of the most lively and innovative areas of art-historical study
  • Presents in depth the major preoccupations that have emerged from recent scholarship, including aesthetics, gender, British art’s relationship to Modernity, nationhood and nationality, and the institutions of the British art world
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgements xiii

Notes on Contributors xiv

Part 1 Editors’ Introduction 1

Part 2 General 11

1 The “Englishness” of English Art Theory 13
Mark A. Cheetham

2 Modernity and the British 38
Andrew Ballantyne

3 English Art and Principled Aesthetics 60
Janet Wolff

Part 3 Institutions 77

4 “Those Wilder Sorts of Painting”: the Painted Interior in the Age of Antonio Verrio 79
Richard Johns

5 Nineteenth-Century Art Institutions and Academies 105
Colin Trodd

6 Crossing the Boundary: British Art across Victorianism and Modernism 131
David Peters Corbett

7 British Pop Art and the High/Low Divide 156
Simon Faulkner

8 When Attitudes Became Formless: Art and Antagonism in the 1960s 180
Jo Applin

Part 4 Nationhood 199

9 Art and Nation in Eighteenth-Century Britain 201
Cynthia Roman

10 International Exhibitions: Linking Culture, Commerce, and Nation 220
Julie F. Codell

11 Itinerant Surrealism: British Surrealism either side of the Second World War 241
Ben Highmore

12 55° North 3° West: a Panorama from Scotland 265
Tom Normand

13 Retrieving, Remapping, and Rewriting Histories of British Art: Lubaina Humid’s “Revenge” 289
Dorothy Rowe

Part 5 Landscape 315

14 Defining, Shaping, and Picturing Landscape in the Nineteenth Century 317
Anne Helmreich

15 Theories of the Picturesque 351
Michael Charlesworth

16 Landscape into Art: Painting and Place-Making in England, c.1760–1830 373
Tom Williamson

17 Landscape Painting, c.1770–1840 397
Sam Smiles

18 Landscape and National Identity: the Phoenix Park Dublin 422
Dana Arnold

Part 6 Men and Women 449

19 The Elizabethan Miniature 451
Dympna Callaghan

20 “The Crown and Glory of a Woman”: Female Chastity in Eighteenth-Century British Art 473
Kate Retford

21 Serial Portraiture and the Death of Man in Late-Eighteenth-Century Britain 502
Whitney Davis

22 Virtue, Vice, Gossip, and Sex: Narratives of Gender in Victorian and Edwardian Painting 532
Pamela M. Fletcher

Index 552

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Author Information

Dana Arnold is Professor of Architectural History and Theory at Middlesex University, UK. She has published several books on British architecture and visual culture and is author of the best selling Art History: A Very Short Introduction (2004). She is series editor of New Interventions in Art History, Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Art History, and Blackwell Anthologies in Art History.

David Peters Corbett is Professor of History of Art at the University of East Anglia. He has published a number of books, and has received prizes from the Historians of British Art, College Art Association USA, and a Guardian book of the year award. He is the editor of the journal Art History.

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"The editors have brought together the latest conclusions of prominent specialists of each period to build a fascinating panorama which is more than the sum of its parts and will delight both newcomers to the field and specialists of British art who will appreciate its coherence and thorough enjoyability. A Companion to British Art should feature in all good libraries covering British and art history." (Cercles, 1 March 2014)

"While aimed at 'tutors and students,' these often dense essays will appeal most to scholars wishing to explore provocative new approaches to the study of British art.  Summing Up: Recommended.  Upper-division undergraduates and above."  (Choice, 1 November 2013)

A Companion to British Art: 1600 to the Present is a sparkling collection of consistently high-quality, freshly-minted essays that is a pleasure to read. The book manages the admirable feat of alerting us to the major themes and preoccupations of recent scholarship on British art whilst also breaking entirely new ground. Whether discussing the Elizabethan miniature, seventeenth-century decorative history painting, Reynolds's portraits, Victorian narrative paintings, or the art of the 1960s, the assembled pieces fizz with originality, ambition and intellectual energy. This book will provide scholars and students of British art with an extremely stimulating point of reference and focus of debate for many years to come.”
Mark Hallett, University of York

“British art has been the focus of innovatory critical investigations and re-readings over recent decades and this book includes many of the foremost scholars currently engaged in the field. It provides a fascinating, intellectually rigorous yet accessible series of studies around the dominant themes of modernity, identities and nationhood and will be an essential resource for students and academics alike.”
Ysanne Holt, University of Northumbria

"A fascinating collection of essays which examines the most pressing theoretical and historical concerns in the field of British art and sets out a compelling agenda for future scholarship."
Michael Hatt, University of Warwick

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