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Title: The most artistic town in England? : the contribution of art - and of design - to the emergence and establishment of a civic culture in Birmingham in the late nineteenth century.
Author: Hartnell, Roy George.
Awarding Body: University of Central England in Birmingham
Current Institution: Birmingham City University
Date of Award: 1992
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This dissertation set out to analyse the interaction· between art and design and the civic culture of a particular period 1n the development of a British provincial city; to establish whether there were particular circumstances in the political and industrial evolution of Birmingham which enabled artists and designers to make a special contribution to their civic culture; to examine the role of individual artists, designers, poli ticians, patrons and officials, and the significance of three art institutions the Society of Artists, the School of Art, and the Art Gallery, in this process; to discover the effect of the visual expression of the municipal reforms in architecture, design and painting; and to explore the significance of the perceived status of artist and designer in the class structure of the town. As it emerged that the core of this analysis was a combination of the contribution of a number of outstanding individuals which included several leading artists, the common culture of a particular group united by the ideals of a "civic gospel~', and the role of the three art institutions, it seemed appropriate to adopt a narrative, historiographical method. The· dissertation traces the growth of the three art institutions and the contribution of a number of leading individuals from 1800 to 1914 and presents a case which argues that in the 1880's and 1890's, a significant group of artists and politicians in Birmingham were united by a deeply-held conviction that art and industry could combine with politics and morality to create a modern and radical cultural identity for their new city which could lay claim to the title of "perhaps the most artistic town in England." It concludes with an interpretation for the loss of this identity and a brief comparison with the situation in the 1980's and 1990's.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History