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Art and the British Empire


Art and the British Empire

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    Available in PDF Format | Art and the British Empire.pdf | English
    Timothy Barringer(Author Editor) Geoff Quilley(Author Editor) Douglas Fordham(Editor)
This pioneering study argues that the concept of 'empire' belongs at the centre, rather than in the margins, of British art history. Recent scholarship in history, anthropology, literature and post-colonial studies has superseded traditional definitions of empire as a monolithic political and economic project.Emerging across the humanities is the idea of empire as a complex and contested process, mediated materially and imaginatively by multifarious forms of culture.The twenty essays in Art and the British Empire offer compelling methodological solutions to this ambiguity, while engaging in subtle visual analysis of a previously neglected body of work.Authors from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the USA and the UK examine a wide range of visual production, including book illustration, portraiture, monumental sculpture, genre and history painting, visual satire, marine and landscape painting, photography and film.Together these essays propose a major shift in the historiography of British art and a blueprint for further research. -- .

The book is produced to a very high standard: quality paper, spacious lay-out, 127 black and white and 19 beautifully reproduced illustrations. It is a pleasure to hold and behold even if at times the weight of theory and detail becomes excessive to the non-specialist reader. --Terry Barringer, African Research & Documentation, No. 103 (2007)

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Review Text

  • By arts guy on 2 February 2016

    The book is a collection of essays by different authors. I bought it only for two essays relating to homosexuality and have not read the others (I've a mass of books to read and the others are not useful to my focus). The essay on Scott Tuke is rather dull, focusing on the opposing views of 'team sports' for boys or self discovery for boys (Boy Scouts) promulgated by the establishment to foster good Empire governors and soldiers. Boys instructed as opposed to enjoying their own adventures and company Blyton-like. It seemed to me to casually accepts sexual readings of Tuke that are tenuous on the evidence we have about him and inaccurate when the picture concerned (Ruby, Gold and Malachite, 1902) depicts ephebophilic boys not pre-pubescent, once again falling into the trap of confusing a pederast with a paedophile. It makes little attempt to examine Uraniast ideas and assumes a sinister interest. The second on John Minton and black men does something similar, assuming racism is one directional: assumptions that a white man thinks in stereotypes but black men don't for instance. More importantly it doesn't seem able to examine the idea that white and black might conceivably fall in love. No examination for instance of white women who married black American soldiers in spite of racist condemnation, running counter to the argument that anyone desiring black sexual partners must be doing so on stereotypical views of 'primitive' sexual ideas of them. Readings of Minton paintings are all bent to this preconceived view. Minton's affectionate portrait of a fully clothed black soldier in uniform is 'close read' laughably to condemn Minton as effete and desiring of him (doh). Images of a black fishermen that are not sexy (according to the author) are still repackaged to still prove they are evidence of a desired stereotype: straight and not gay at all they are better than sexually interested men. The fact that Minton practiced as an illustrator (to a brief) isn't in the equation used to 'solve' the meanings. A comparison with private and to be published imagery would have been pertinent. I cant vouch for other articles but these two did not seem very insightful or original in their deductions to me.

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