Paul Mellon Centre
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Description: Learning to Draw: Studies in the Cultural History of a Polite and Useful Art
As early as the sixteenth century, drawing in England came to be seen as something more than an activity exclusive to artists—it became a polite and useful art, a practice of everyday life. This generously illustrated book explores the social and cultural processes that enabled drawing to emerge as an amateur pastime, as well as the meanings that drawing had for people who were not artists. Ann Bermingham shows how the history of drawing in England—from the age of Elizabeth I to the era of early photography—mirrored changes in society, politics, the practical world, and notions of self.

The book examines how drawing intersected with a wide range of social phenomena, from political absolutism, writing, empirical science, and Enlightenment pedagogy to nationalism, industrialism, tourism, bourgeois gentility, and religious instruction. Bermingham discusses the central role of drawing and the visual arts in Renaissance debates about government and self-government, then considers the relations between seventeenth-century drawing, natural science, and the masculine ideal of the honest gentleman. She also investigates landscape drawing in the context of eighteenth-century views on sensibility; the emergence of the amateur draftsman and the accomplished woman; and the commercialization of amateur drawing in the nineteenth century. The book concludes with a discussion of the impact of photography on the social practice of drawing.
Print publication date March 2000 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300080391
EISBN 9780300254662
Illustrations 270
Print Status out of print
Description: English Art And Modernism 1900–1939
This critically acclaimed book is both a detailed history of the development of modern art in England in the early twentieth century and a study of the evolution of the concept of modernism among English artists, critics, and theorists.

Charles Harrison explores the two main phases of modern art activity during the period: the years before and during the First World War, when the principal factions were Sickert's Camden Town Group, the English Post-Impressionists, and the Vorticists; and the 1930s, when a new avant garde assembled in response to recent developments in European art, only to divide into groupings of abstract artists, Surrealists, and Realists. Harrison discusses the artists of the period, the most important individual works, and the writings of the critics, resulting in a major contribution to knowledge about the art and theory of modernism.
Print publication date May 1994 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9789998005563
EISBN 9780300254914
Illustrations 165
Print Status out of print
Description: Becket’s Crown: Art and Imagination in Gothic England 1170–1300
To appreciate England’s earliest Gothic buildings and art—the great cathedrals at Canterbury, Lincoln, Salisbury, and Wells and contemporary Gothic texts and images—it is necessary to understand the religious and ethical ideals of the individuals and communities who sponsored them. Paul Binski’s fascinating new book offers a radical new perspective on English art, architecture, social formation, and religious imagination during this pivotal period.

Binski reveals that the Church, although authoritarian and undergoing reform, was able to come to terms with new developments in society and technology as well as with the fact of social and religious diversity. He explains how varying ideals of personal sanctity were bound up with radical new notions of leadership, personal ethics, and styles of religious devotion and how ideas of reform of worship, personal conduct, and art affected the community at large.
Print publication date February 2005 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300105094
EISBN 9780300252934
Illustrations 239
Print Status out of print
Description: Hanging the Head: Portraiture and Social Formation in Eighteenth-Century England
Eighteenth-century England possessed a thriving portrait culture: likenesses of particular individuals exhibited at the Royal Academy or in the interiors of public institutions, such as guildhalls and charity foundations, as well as in private houses, were part of a network of visual communication that encompassed print-collecting, popular performance, and figurative acts of speech.

In this original and stimulating book, Marcia Pointon demonstrates how portraiture provided mechanisms both for constructing and accessing a national past and for controlling a present that appeared increasingly unruly. Through detailed historical analyses of particular aspects of portrait representation – images of criminals, the fashions and rituals around the masculine culture of hair and wigs, the gendering of childhood in celebrated paintings like Penelope with or 'Pinkie' – Pointon establishes the rich and complex ways in which portraiture reflected eighteenth-century England. How 'the head' was hung – whether it be a matter of the disposition of an actual body or the image of that body – was determined by social rules of posture and decorum, by artistic convention and commercial practice, and literally by the ways in which patrons chose to arrange particular portraits on walls – paintings that served ritual and symbolic as well as decorative functions.

Hanging the Head makes a major contribution to our understanding of portraiture as a cultural and political phenomenon in eighteenth-century Britain. It will be of great interest to art historians and to those concerned with the history of material culture, to museums specialists and to all concerned with literature, politics, and visual culture in eighteenth-century England.
Print publication date January 1998 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300073683
EISBN 9780300249798
Illustrations 291
Print Status out of print
Description: Art on the Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780–1836
On May 1, 1780, England’s Royal Academy of Arts opened its twelfth annual exhibition, the first to be held in the magnificent rooms of William Chambers’s newly built Somerset House. For the next fifty-seven years, the Great Room of Somerset House effectively defined the center of the London art world--the place where viewers had to see and be seen, and where artists fiercely vied for the attention of potential buyers. Such great exhibition performers as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Lawrence, John Constable, J. M. W. Turner, and David Wilkie sharpened their skills during these stimulating decades. In this extensively illustrated book, seventeen renowned experts revisit and assess the Somerset House years, a period of great achievement and central importance in the history of British art.

The book’s contributors view the Somerset House phenomenon from a broad range of perspectives. They deal with the physical nature of the exhibitions, the audience, the role of the press, the Royal Academy’s place within the larger world of urban entertainments, and how the conditions of display shaped and even transformed patterns of art production. In addition, they explore such topics as the tactics of exhibitors in different genres of painting, the exhibition histories of works in other media, and the impact on foreign artists and observers of an increasingly self-confident national school of British art.
Author
Print publication date November 2001 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300090918
EISBN 9780300248098
Illustrations 221
Print Status out of print