British Romanticism and the Reception of Italian Old Master Art, 1793-1840: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

British Romanticism and the Reception of Italian Old Master Art, 1793-1840

1st Edition

By Maureen McCue


204 pages

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As a result of Napoleon’s campaigns in Italy, Old Master art flooded into Britain and its acquisition became an index of national prestige. Maureen McCue argues that their responses to these works informed the writing of Romantic period authors, enabling them to forge often surprising connections between Italian art, the imagination and the period’s political, social and commercial realities. Dr McCue examines poetry, plays, novels, travel writing, exhibition catalogues, early guidebooks and private experiences recorded in letters and diaries by canonical and noncanonical authors, including Felicia Hemans, William Buchanan, Henry Sass, Pierce Egan, William Hazlitt, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Anna Jameson, Maria Graham Callcott and Samuel Rogers. Her exploration of the idea of connoisseurship shows the ways in which a knowledge of Italian art became a key marker of cultural standing that was no longer limited to artists and aristocrats, while her chapter on the literary production of post-Waterloo Britain traces the development of a critical vocabulary equally applicable to the visual arts and literature. In offering cultural, historical and literary readings of the responses to Italian art by early nineteenth-century writers, Dr McCue illuminates the important role they played in shaping the themes that are central to our understanding of Romanticism.


Shortlisted for the 2015 BARS First Book Prize

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

About the Author

Dr Maureen McCue is a Lecturer in English Literature at Bangor University, UK.

About the Series

Studies in Art Historiography

Studies in Art Historiography
The aim of this series is to support and promote the study of the history and practice of art historical writing focussing on its institutional and conceptual foundations, from the past to the present day in all areas and all periods. Besides addressing the major innovators of the past it also encourages re-thinking ways in which the subject may be written in the future. It ignores the disciplinary boundaries imposed by the Anglophone expression 'art history' and allows and encourages the full range of enquiry that encompasses the visual arts in its broadest sense as well as topics falling within archaeology, anthropology, ethnography and other specialist disciplines and approaches. It welcomes contributions from young and established scholars and is aimed at building an expanded audience for what has hitherto been a much specialised topic of investigation. It complements the work of the Journal of Art Historiography.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / Baroque & Rococo
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature