I do not know whether the Italian title of this book (Vita di casa) is an allusion to Mario Praz and his autobiography La casa della vita (Milan, 1958), but it would be fitting. In that book Mario Praz guides the reader through his Roman house and tells his life during the tour.
This book sets out to give an account of what the foundation of The Royal Academy of Arts in 1768 meant for artistic practice in particular and cultural life more generally in Britain between 1760 and 1840. It is to be welcomed, because it fills a gap, and fills it well. The history of art institutions in Britain attracts sporadic attention.
Some books enlighten and disappoint at the same time. This is how I felt having read Oleg Tarasov’s book. Originally Tarasov’s doktorskaia dissertatsiia (the second PhD), the book was first published in Russian and has now been painstakingly translated by Robin Milner-Gulland and lavishly published by Reaktion Books.
Kathryn Morrison’s task has been enormous: covering just about a thousand years of retail architecture, this work comprises a magnificent collection of visual material and concise history drawn from primary and secondary data.
In 1993 Amanda Vickery's now well-known historiographical review 'Golden Age to Separate Spheres?' provided an exhaustive survey of the interpretation of the position, identity and role of English women from the early modern to the Victorian periods.(1) It was a timely project in response the wealth of interest and research in that field over the previ
Studies of the National Portrait Gallery have analysed its history as an institution, as an architectural space, or as instrumental in the development of portraiture (1).
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.
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.
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.
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.