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Title: A British museum era : modernist artists and authors in London's museums, 1905-1918
Author: Arrowsmith, Rupert Richard
ISNI:       0000 0001 1874 935X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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This study considers the role of London's museums - especially the British Museum - as conduits for the delivery of extra-European visual art to the city's avant-garde during the years preceding World War One. It makes use of documents from the archives of the British Museum, the British Library, the Tate Gallery, the V&A, and the Royal Institute of British Architects - many of which have never before been quoted from or published - to show that the early modernist sculpture of Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Eric Gill; the philosophy of T.E. Hulme; and the poetic imagery of Ezra Pound, were all decisively shaped by a conscious adaptation of aesthetic concepts and technical approaches from exhibits at the above institutions. For the first time, Epstein is conclusively shown to have based his 1907-8 figures for the British Medical Association - traditionally regarded as London's earliest examples of modernist sculpture - upon Indian temple carvings displayed at the British Museum. New evidence is presented indicating that the sculptor's subsequent tours of the capital's Assyrian, Egyptian, African and Oceanic collections in the company of Gill, Gaudier and Hulme are what suggested many of the aesthetic characteristics of pre-war modernism in Britain. A reassessment of Pound's friendship with the curator and poet Laurence Binyon reveals a previously unsuspected link between Pound's first identifiably modernist poems and the Japanese lIkfyo-e woodblock prints available via the British Museum's exclusive Print Room. Important new evidence from the Museum's own archives and from those of the British Library is used to overturn previous hypotheses about Pound's early engagement with the visual cultures of eastern Asia in general - an engagement that would continue to affect his poetic imagery even as late as the final cantos.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available