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Title: The extra-illustration of London : leisure, sociability and the antiquarian city in the late eighteenth century
Author: Peltz, Lucy F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 7826
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1997
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Extra-illustration was a fashionable, amateur pastime whereby a published text was embellished and extended by the incorporation of thematically linked illustrations such as prints and watercolours. Although material and literary evidence proves that extra-illustration was immensely popular between the 1790s and the mid nineteenth century, it has received little scholarly attention. This thesis will investigate the practice and products of extra-illustration in relation to the socioeconomic, interpersonal and historical contexts of authorship, reading and commodity consumption. All reading is autonomous and individual, but reading by its very nature rarely leaves tangible traces. Extra-illustration, as this thesis will demonstrate, affords rich evidence of how contemporary readers engaged with books as both texts and material artifacts. The focus will be the customisation of Thomas Pennant's Of London; a historical and topographical survey of London which typifies the antiquarian orientation of the texts that were popular among extra-illustrators. It will begin by recounting the brief occurrences of extra-illustration in the early eighteenth-century and will then chart its reincarnation, from the 1770s, in relation to the emergent cult of engraved portrait head collecting and the popularisation of antiquarianism. Chapter One will develop this context by simultaneously investigating the intellectual concerns and popular perception of antiquarians with reference to the genres of images and texts which were regularly diverted for use in the extra-illustration of Pennant's London. By examining the changing aesthetics and conventions of antiquarianism, I shall posit that extra10 illustration was a congenial method of engaging with the antiquarian city. It arose in tandem with the domestication of masculine leisure and both were fuelled by the circulation of entrepreneurial publications which continued to represent the city to a viewer at a remove. Here I shall also explain the symbolic potential of the literary survey of London and describe its dissemination and merchandising towards the end of the eighteenth century. In Chapter Two I shall then provide a detailed analysis of the sociable production, commercial publication and critical reception of Thomas Pennant's anecdotal survey of London. This will give rise to discussions on the relationship between publishing, gentility and authorship, as well as between authors and their texts. It will also reveal the protean nature of Of London which represented the requirements for urban knowledge and antiquarian research of a diffuse group of participating readers and contributors. After this discussion of Of London in its pristine state, Chapter Three will take John Charles Crowle's lavish reformulation of this text as a paradigm of the extra-illustration of Pennant's London. It will analyse the contents and production of this text-led collection and interpret the semiotic and patriotic functions of its collated illustrations in relation to the reading of the book, the psychology of collecting and the contemporary experience of London in representation and reality. In Chapter Four, I shall consider the extra-illustrator's perception of books as personal artifacts, ripe for customisation and display. As extra-illustration was identified as a leisure pursuit of men in retirement, I shall interpret these cut and paste activities in relation to the economy of social interaction and the prevailing expectations of gender, domesticity and social propriety. Throughout this 11 thesis my interest is in the way people readily modified commodities to suit their individual preferences and stamped them with personal identities. This culture of appropriation, explored in relation to ways of viewing London, suggests how this genteel audience savoured a city of their own devising which could be enjoyed in the safety of the home.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available