Presenting an inventive body of research that explores the connections between urban movements, space, and visual representation, this study offers the first sustained analysis of the vital interrelationship between printed images and urban life in early modern London. The study differs from all other books on early modern British print culture in that it seeks out printed forms that were active in shaping and negotiating the urban milieu-prints that troubled categories of high and low culture, images that emerged when the political became infused with the creative, as well as prints that bear traces of the roles they performed and the ways they were used in the city. It is distinguished by its close and sustained readings of individual prints, from the likes of such artists as Wenceslaus Hollar, Francis Barlow, and William Faithorne; and this visual analysis is complemented with a thorough examination of the dynamics of print production as a commercial exchange that takes place within a wider set of exchanges (of goods, people, ideas and money) across the city and the nation. This study challenges scholars to re-imagine the function of popular prints as a highly responsive form of cultural production, capable not only of 'recording' events, spaces and social actions, but profoundly shaping the way these entities are conceived in the moment and also recast within cultural memory. It offers historians of print culture and British art a sophisticated and innovative model of how to mobilize rigorous archival research in the service of a thoroughly historicized and theorized analysis of visual representation and its relationship to space and social identity.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, thresholds of exchange: 'A thousand monster opinions': producing the space of the coffee house; Anatomizing the social body: visualizing the plague; The 'picture of Troy'; mapping the trauma of London's Fire in 1666; Representing the solemn mock procession of the Pope: the liminal space of print and the city; The Frost Fair of 1683-1684: print culture and the city re-imagined; Bibliography; Index.
Joseph Monteyne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
'In this admirably fresh and important work, Monteyne firmly locates the print output of later seventeenth-century London within the confines of its immediate Metropolitan birthplace. From the ashes of traditional art-historians' neglect, a picture of the City itself rises. Here, for the first time, the sensational depictions of the anti-Catholic processions of the early 1680s, the extraordinary Frost Fair held on the Thames during the winter of 1683/4, the important new institution of the Coffee House, the Great Fire and the periodic plagues are discussed in proper detail. This is a book no historian of seventeenth-century English culture can afford to ignore.' Malcolm Jones, University of Sheffield, UK
’Monteyne has read widely in social, religious and political history; in art history, literary theory and urban sociology; and employs a wide range of visual and textual sources to good effect. The result is a fantastic book that guides the reader from one interesting idea to the next through a series of insightful connections, much like a tourist navigating the metropolis by its landmarks. I hope this book will become a classic text for all scholars of early modern London.’ Journal of the Printing Historical Society