Paul Mellon Centre
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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 9780300252935
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