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Title: Shows of strength : war and the military in British visual culture, circa 1775-1803
Author: Bonehill, John
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis examines the ways in which war, empire and the image of the military were mediated to the civilian, domestic population of late eighteenth-century Britain through visual forms. The focus of the thesis is on the years between circa 1775 and 1803; that is from the beginnings of the American War to the end of the short-lived Peace of Amiens. It examines the impact of conflict upon the production of visual culture and the instrumental role of images in the debates that accompanied the country's near continual state of war during this period. Following an introduction establishing the motivations, methods and scope of the thesis, the chapters take the form of a series of thematic studies, arranged chronologically and chosen to address a range of key issues and images. Chapter one examines the representation of the common soldier in popular and satirical prints of the 1770s and '80s, and locates these images in the context of contemporary responses to the American War. Chapter two takes as its theme the relationship between the military and London's social elite during that conflict. It looks closely at the visual and textual representation of two sites of fashionable assembly - the military camp and Royal Academy - and examines the fusion of social and political commentary in responses to these areas. Chapters three and four are concerned with the pictorial celebration of notable British military successes critical to be the reconstitution of the army following the defeat in America. The third chapter considers John Singleton Copley's epic contemporary history painting The Siege of Gibraltar (1791), examining this image of national consolidation and triumph in terms of the aftermath of the American War. The fourth chapter focuses on the visual representation of the Third Mysore War in the early 1790s from initial failure to eventual British victory. In the fifth chapter the shifts in the language and rhetoric of patriotism during war with revolutionary France and the ways in which this was in part worked through in visual representation of the military are examined.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available