Pictures-within-Pictures in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Hardback) book cover

Pictures-within-Pictures in Nineteenth-Century Britain

By Catherine Roach

© 2016 – Routledge

218 pages

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Hardback: 9781472454690
pub: 2016-06-27
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Description

Repainting the work of another into one’s own canvas is a deliberate and often highly fraught act of reuse. This book examines the creation, display, and reception of such images. Artists working in nineteenth-century London were in a peculiar position: based in an imperial metropole, yet undervalued by their competitors in continental Europe. Many claimed that Britain had yet to produce a viable national school of art. Using pictures-within-pictures, British painters challenged these claims and asserted their role in an ongoing visual tradition. By transforming pre-existing works of art, they also asserted their own painterly abilities. Recognizing these statements provided viewers with pleasure, in the form of a witty visual puzzle solved, and with prestige, in the form of cultural knowledge demonstrated. At stake for both artist and audience in such exchanges was status: the status of the painter relative to other artists, and the status of the viewer relative to other audience members. By considering these issues, this book demonstrates a new approach to images of historic displays. Through examinations of works by J.M.W. Turner, John Everett Millais, John Scarlett Davis, Emma Brownlow King, and William Powell Frith, this book reveals how these small passages of paint conveyed both personal and national meanings.

Reviews

'Pictures-within-Pictures is a smart, impressively-researched, and rich series of readings of individual paintings that opens up into a thought-provoking discussion of how visual citation and recognition functioned for Victorian artists and viewers, and how such references forged new identities for viewers and audiences in specific exhibition venues.' Pamela Fletcher, Bowdoin College

'Catherine Roach has written a fascinating account of an equally fascinating genre that has largely escaped scholarly attention …. As Roach points out in this excellent, innovative study, in reproducing other artists' works, painters made those works their own, appropriating them to comment on on array of moral, social and art world topics and (hopefully) their own place in the canon.' Julie Codell, Visual Culture in Britain

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Figures ix

List of Plates xiii

Acknowledgments xvi

Introduction: Pictures-within-Pictures, an Eighteenth-Century Legacy

1 Creating from Copies: John Scarlett Davis and the British Institution, 1829–1830

2 Outshining the Masters: J.M.W. Turner, Inheritance, and Petworth, 1827–1852

3 Painting Anew: John Everett Millais, Portraiture, and the Pre-Raphaelite Challenge, 1850–1874

4 Claiming Legitimacy: Emma Brownlow King, William Hogarth, and the Foundling Hospital, 1858–1868

5 Critiquing the Critic: W.P. Frith, Oscar Wilde, and Aestheticism at the Royal Academy, 1853–1883

Conclusion: Edouard Manet, William Orpen, and Continental Pictures-within-Pictures

Bibliography

Index

About the Author

Catherine Roach is an Assistant Professor of Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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:
ART000000
ART / General
ART015030
ART / European
ART015120
ART / History / Romanticism
ART020000
ART / Techniques / Painting
HIS015000
HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain
HIS037060
HISTORY / Modern / 19th Century