Governing Cultures: Art Institutions in Victorian London, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Governing Cultures

Art Institutions in Victorian London, 1st Edition

Edited by Paul Barlow, Colin Trodd


226 pages

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Hardback: 9781138727489
pub: 2017-12-21
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This title was first published in 2000. London in the nineteenth century saw the founding of the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Other, less permanent, organisations flourished, among them the British Institution, water-colour societies and the Society of Female Artists. These worked alongside the schools such as the Royal Academy and the Slade School of Art. In this volume, eleven scholars, experts on the individual institutions, analyse their complex histories to investigate such issues as: How did they generate and redesign their publics? What identities did they create? What practice of art making, connoisseurship and spectatorship did they enshrine? These reports elucidate the values associated with the key institutions and describe the responses and adaptation over time to major cultural developments: new movements, political change and the development of the Empire. The volume as a whole offers a fascinating account of the interconnections between these key institutions. Challenging conventional readings of the subject, the Introduction, by Paul Barlow and Colin Trodd, offers a definition of public art during the Victorian period.


'… a must-have for anyone seriously studying or documenting the history of nineteenth-century institutional tastes.'

- Nineteenth Century Studies

'One of the main assests of Governing Cultures lies in the sheer amount of new information and insight that it yields about important but often hard-to-research or relatively short-lived (even esoteric) institutions… In all cases, the authors do much more than marshal facts; they also offer new and compelling perspectives on how culture was aesthetically absorbed, transformed, and disseminated by Victorian artists, critics, dealers, the public at large. In addition, the extensive bibliography is extremely useful, and the entire book qualifies as a must-have for anyone seriously studying or documenting the history of nineteenth-century institutional tastes.'

- Susan P. Casteras Nineteenth Century Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: constituting the public: art and its institutions in 19th-century London, Paul Barlow and Colin Trodd; National taste: from élite to public?: The paths to the National Gallery, Colin Trodd; Museum or market? The British Institution, Nicholas Tromans; Representing the Victorian Royal Academy: the properties of culture and the promotion of art, Colin Trodd; Fire, flatulence and fog: the decoration of Westminster Palace and the aesthetics of prudence, Paul Barlow; Communal taste: institutional discriminations: The Society of Female Artists and the Song of the Sisterhood, Stephanie Brown and Sara Dodd; The cultivation of mind and hand: teaching art at the Slade School of Fine Art 1868-92, Emma Chambers; An art suited to the ’English middle classes’?: the watercolour societies in the Victorian period, Greg Smith; ’The advantages of combination’: the Art Union of London and state regulation in the 1840s, Duncan Forbes;Contradicting tastes: public art, the mass and the modern: The National Portrait Gallery and its constituencies 1858-96, Lara Perry; Consuming empire?: the South Kensington Museum and its spectacles, Paul Barlow and Shelagh Wilson; ’The highest art for the lowest people’: the Whitechapel and other philanthropic art galleries 1877-1901, Shelagh Wilson; A ’state’ gallery?: the management of British art during the early years of the Tate, Alison Smith; Bibliography; Index.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General