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Title: Constructed identities? : paintings of everyday life in Ireland c.1780 - c.1840
Author: Boland, Mary Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 4578
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines paintings of everyday life in Ireland from c.1780-c.1840. Primarily, it investigates how the construction of an everyday reality in images by George Grattan, Nathaniel Grogan, John George Mulvany, Joseph Peacock, George Petrie and William Turner de Lond was used as a means to project the identities and ideologies of those that were viewing, buying and commissioning them. Thus, it challenges current perceptions of paintings of everyday life as documents of social history and material culture and instead focuses on how much these images can reveal about the lives of their spectators and patrons. By placing a series of artworks in the social, political and economic contexts in which they were produced, the approach has been an interdisciplinary one and many of the arguments are based on close visual analysis of the images themselves. Comparisons with similar traditions in the art of everyday life in France and Britain, and with the portrayal of Ireland in contemporary novels and travel literature, have also been used as a means to better understand their underlying tone and intent. An important focus is the notion of the everyday itself and what it meant during the period in question. Theoretical texts by Henri Lefebvre, Mikhail Bakhtin and others have been useful in this respect and provide clarification when trying to locate definitions for what the term 'everyday' actually incorporates. It has been revealed that paintings by Grogan, Mulvany and their contemporaries are characterised by a sense of artistic opportunism and variety itself becomes the most dominant structural variant. The patrons of these images are exposed as a diverse group of educated (largely urban) people who were intent on using the everyday aesthetic to propagate their own ideologies of improvement, social order and community pride. Consequently, paintings of everyday life become about projecting the personal, civic and cultural identities that their patrons wanted to be associated with. Ultimately, this thesis provides a significant intervention in the field of both Irish studies and art history because it establishes the everyday as a serious and important aesthetic category in Ireland in the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available