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In recent years Ashgate Publishing has become one of the most dominant forces in the field of early modern studies, and the recent appearance of the impressive volume edited by Michael Hunter of Birkbeck College entitled Printed Images in Early Modern Britain: Essays in Interpretation (2010) is a case in point.
The later 16th century in Italy was a period of 'mental stagnation' wrote G. R. Elton.(1) This highly questionable statement apparently set in motion the entire research project from which the present group of essays emerged (p. 76, n. 64); they contest its validity.
This is a beautifully illustrated book of serious scholarship and the three editors and the other contributing authors are to be congratulated.
The Grand Tour was ‘a phenomenon which shaped the creative and intellectual sensibilities of some of the eighteenth century’s greatest artists, writers and thinkers’. So reads the opening paragraph of Adam Matthew Digital’s new website, The Grand Tour. It is a substantial claim to make, but a fair one.
In 2001, during a Round Table discussion at the College Art Association Conference in Chicago, the Czech art historian and critic Martina Pachmanová raised the issue of agency in the construction of the dominant narratives of East-Central European art.
In the introduction to her long-awaited and extremely interesting study of the popular literature of Victorian interior decoration, Judith Neiswander prepares her readers – and perhaps to a certain extent herself – for their predicted negative reactions to the décor of the late 19th-century middle class home.
In the words of its author, this engaging book ‘tells of the shadows of objects and of images in the brain and, as such, of the only realities that cannot entirely escape from appropriation’ (p. ix). The object in question is Florence, understood both as a material place and as a mythical construction.
Throughout my reading of Professor Parry’s new book I was distracted by a low, angry, buzzing noise. On reflection, I realized it was the sound of Hugh Trevor-Roper spinning in his grave. The scale of the chasm between the two authors can scarcely be exaggerated.
Every picture tells a story. The story told by posed portraits of the family is one of change over time; family groups look different at different times. Thus the Victorian middle-class family is typically photographed in an indoor ‘domestic’ setting, its members unsmiling, connected to each other by the touch of a hand on a shoulder.
Textiles and dress occupy a central position within the realm of material culture. Apart from fulfilling the basic human need for clothing and protection, textiles play important political, economic, and religious functions.