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Title: The contemporary response to British art before Ruskin's "Modern painters" : an examination of exhibition reviews published in the British periodical press and the journalist art critics who penned them : from the late eighteenth century to 1843
Author: Barnett, Maura
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1993
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A particular literary genre, the exhibition review, forms the subject of this dissertation. It represents one facet of a discourse which began to develop in Britain during the latter years of the eighteenth century. Art historians have become increasingly interested in such criticism, but have usually treated it, not as an historical phenomenon which in itself deserves a full investigation, but as a pool of evidence from which to draw remarks concerning individual artists or works of art It is argued that such a one-dimensional approach is unsatisfactory, but that in attempting to go beyond it, the methodological problems posed by this primary source need to be considered. It is stressed that the building up of a basic corpus of knowledge is very important, and an inventory of identified critics is presented in order to assist this. Some observations on the careers of these critics are given. The exhibition reviews published in two contrasting periodicals, the Sun and The Examiner, form the subjects of case studies. The latter are known to have been penned by Robert Hunt and present no problems of attribution. The former are ascribed to John Taylor and the supporting evidence is put forward. The reviews are compared and it is shown how they differed according to their published contexts, and according to the idiosyncracies of their authors. It is suggested that in spite of these differences, a shared critical idiom was a strong force which led reviewers to make many similar comments. This idiom and the precedents which determined its nature are examined. The ways in which it at once harboured and yet disguised certain ideologies are demonstrated. Evidence which helps to place reviews into a more rounded picture of the past is given in conclusion, including statements which show that contemporaries perceived the press as an important influence on the development of taste.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR