The contemporary response to British art before Ruskin's "Modern painters" : an examination of exhibition reviews published in the British periodical press and the journalist art critics who penned them : from the late eighteenth century to 1843
Barnett, Maura (1993) The contemporary response to British art before Ruskin's "Modern painters" : an examination of exhibition reviews published in the British periodical press and the journalist art critics who penned them : from the late eighteenth century to 1843. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1416056~S1
A particular literary genre, the exhibition review, forms the subject
of this dissertation. It represents one facet of a discourse which
began to develop in Britain during the latter years of the eighteenth
century. Art historians have become increasingly interested in such
criticism, but have usually treated it, not as an historical phenomenon
which in itself deserves a full investigation, but as a pool of evidence
from which to draw remarks concerning individual artists or works of
It is argued that such a one-dimensional approach is unsatisfactory,
but that in attempting to go beyond it, the methodological problems
posed by this primary source need to be considered. It is stressed that
the building up of a basic corpus of knowledge is very important, and an
inventory of identified critics is presented in order to assist this.
Some observations on the careers of these critics are given.
The exhibition reviews published in two contrasting periodicals, the
Sun and The Examiner, form the subjects of case studies. The latter are
known to have been penned by Robert Hunt and present no problems of
attribution. The former are ascribed to John Taylor and the supporting
evidence is put forward. The reviews are compared and it is shown how
they differed according to their published contexts, and according to
the idiosyncracies of their authors.
It is suggested that in spite of these differences, a shared critical
idiom was a strong force which led reviewers to make many similar
comments. This idiom and the precedents which determined its nature are
examined. The ways in which it at once harboured and yet disguised
certain ideologies are demonstrated. Evidence which helps to place
reviews into a more rounded picture of the past is given in conclusion,
including statements which show that contemporaries perceived the press
as an important influence on the development of taste.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Art criticism -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century, Art criticism -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century, Art critics -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century, Art critics -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century|
|Official Date:||November 1993|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of History of Art|
This is an abridged version for electronic use, lacking Volume 2 due to copyright restrictions; please see the official URL for details on how to access the full version.
|Extent:||2 v. (ii, 357, 50 leaves)|
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