The Victorian era and its aftermath were the backdrop to one of the great flowerings of British art. Taking the story of British art from the era of Romanticism to the formal and aesthetic breakthrough of Post-Impressionism, this book offers a survey of the field.
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Christopher Wood is England's leading writer and broadcaster on Victorian art. Educated at St John's College, Cambridge, he spent fourteen years working at the London auction house, Christie's, becoming director of nineteenth-century paintings. He started his own gallery, specialising in Pre-Raphaelite andFrom Library Journal:
Wood, an expert in the art of the Victorian period, sets out to prove the wealth and diversity of English Victorian painting, placing it in the social context of its time. The discussion of issues such as the rise of middle-class patronage, the increasing importance of the dealer, and the emergence of museums helps situate Victorian painting. Wood's major premise is that Victorian art was not only a popular means of illustrating modern life but that it also continued the earlier phase of 19th-century Romanticism through its passion for history and literary illusion. These themes are reflected in the 28 thematic chapters. Unlike Lionel Lambourne's Victorian Painting (LJ 12/99), which is more international and comprehensive in scope, Wood focuses solely on England and the artists who worked there. Lambourne also touches more on contemporary art historical methodology as seen, for example, in his much stronger feminist take on the role of Victorian women in society. And the design of Wood's book tends to feel more cramped than Lambourne's, with images often squeezed onto the page or cropped to fit. Yet Wood's book is still a strong offering on the subject and is recommended for both large libraries with general book collections and for those that support programs in art and art research.DSandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Coll., MA
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