Alfred Gilbert's Aestheticism: Gilbert Amongst Whistler, Wilde, Leighton, Pater and Burne-Jones, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Alfred Gilbert's Aestheticism

Gilbert Amongst Whistler, Wilde, Leighton, Pater and Burne-Jones, 1st Edition

By Jason Edwards


291 pages

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Paperback: 9781138263659
pub: 2017-03-31
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pub: 2006-02-28
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Alfred Gilbert's Aestheticism presents the first sustained re-evaluation of the life and work of one of the most acclaimed sculptors of the late-Victorian period. Drawing on important new archival sources, this ground-breaking study challenges the customary assumption that Aestheticism was primarily a literary, painterly or architectural phenomena. Jason Edwards reveals both the diverse ways in which Gilbert's sculptures operated within the context of Aestheticism and also how these works provided a unique and provocative commentary on the history of masculine friendship and eroticism in the period leading up to and beyond the Wilde trials in 1895. Detailed readings are offered of the relationship of Gilbert's work to essays by Pater and Swinburne, poems, plays, and novels by Wilde and W. S. Gilbert, and paintings by Burne-Jones, Leighton, Rossetti, Solomon, Whistler, and Watts. With over 90 illustrations, including key contemporary photographs showing Gilbert's works in their original contexts, this book makes a major contribution to the field of Victorian sculpture studies.


’… [Edwards's] erudition is impressive…Edwards's book is certainly readable, while his patent admiration for a remarkable artist is affecting and infectious. Alfred Gilbert's Aestheticism provocatively complements the excellent if more orthodox biographical achievements of Richard Dorment.’ The Burlington Magazine

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Alfred Gilbert's Aestheticism; A portrait of the artist as a young aesthete: Perseus Arming (1882) and 'Grosvenor' Aestheticism; Icarus (1884): 'academic' Aestheticism at Leighton and Burlington House; Allegorizing love in fin-de-siècle London: Eros (1886-93) and Piccadilly Aestheticism; The truth of masks: Comedy and Tragedy: 'Sic Vita' (1892); From Cleveland Street to Bruges: the Clarence Memorial Tomb (1892-99); Conclusion: G. F. Watts and the end of Gilbert's Aestheticism, 1899-1903; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Jason Edwards is Lecturer in Art History at the University of York, UK.

About the Series

British Art and Visual Culture since 1750 New Readings

British Art and Visual Culture since 1750 New Readings
This series provides a forum for the study of British art and visual culture from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. It includes work which considers British art within comparative and interdisciplinary frameworks as well as monographs and thematic studies, single authored works and edited volumes of essays dealing with the art produced in the British Isles. The series publishes research which deals not only with high art but also with the visual environment of Britain from perspectives which are not primarily concerned with art objects. Volumes published in the series include studies of the social and cultural history of British visual culture, interpretation of individual works of art, and perspectives on reception, consumption and display.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General
ART / European
ART / Sculpture & Installation