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In Room 145 of the Ceramics Galleries of the Victoria & Albert Museum, at the top of case 50, you can see an ‘architectural fragment’, which, according to its label, ‘once ornamented a palace in Yuanmingyuan or “garden of perfect clarity”’.
Historians of British art have needed a book-length re-examination of the conversation piece and its role(s) in 18th-century society for some time.
You may think you know the story of the Tudor dynasty and the steps they took in securing their power and legacy, but what most grand narratives of the Tudor monarchs do not describe is their intimate relationship with the built environment around them.
Somewhat late in the day, Tate Britain has got around to an exhibition about the British Empire and its legacies.
This is a self-consciously old-fashioned treatment of an unaccountably neglected chapter in the history of travel which should be placed alongside such classics as John Stoye’s English Travelers Abroad, 1604–1667, whose first edition was published as long ago as 1952, rather than more recent treatments by Chloe Chard and Rosemary Sweet.(1) Indeed, one might go
As this book begins (p. 1), the author marvels how the art of the Wycliffite Bible, one of the most popular books in late medieval England, has not been studied systematically. The answer lies in the historiography of the Wycliffite Bible. Kennedy suggests that the ‘Shadow of the Reformation’ has created a binary view of Wycliffite Bibles, linking them to heresy and illegality.
The dissemination of cultural improvement was written into the ethos of the BBC under John Reith, the first director-general from 1927. Until 1945 the BBC broadcast a single national service and therefore constructed programming that attempted to offer a culturally unified ‘voice of the nation’.
I cannot help a passing allusion to the lack of pictorial records of this war – records made by artists of experience, who actually witness the scenes they portray.
It is 50 years since Edward Thompson introduced historians to the phrase, the idea, the reality of 'the condescension of posterity'.(1) And while Thompson restricted his lens to the poor and forgotten of late 18th- and early 19th-century Britain, for a number of years a small number of historians, John Barrell notable among them (2
As Richard Steele opined in one 1712 edition of The Spectator, a predilection for portraiture in post-Reformation England was something both recognised and respected by the journalist and his peers: ‘No nation in the world delights so much in having their own, or friends’, or relations’ pictures; whether from their national good-nature, or having a love to painting, and not being encou