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- Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 512 pages
- Dimensions: 250mm x 288mm x 54mm | 3,039g
- Publication date: 23 September 2003
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0714843598
- ISBN 13: 9780714843599
- Illustrations note: 620 colour and 7 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
- Sales rank: 433,628
Victorian Painting is a comprehensive survey of one of the most fertile and varied eras in the history of painting. It embraces not just the United Kingdom, but also English-speaking countries linked to Britain by cultural ties of empire and emigration, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. Long regarded as a backwater of sentiment and outmoded academic convention that was bypassed by the mainstream of development in Western art, Victorian painting is now wholeheartedly enjoyed in its own right. Unfettered by old prejudices, Lionel Lambourne presents a vivid panorama of an age of unparalleled energy and creativity. Wealth, optimism, education and self-confidence created a huge demand for art, and a remarkable array of talent emerged to meet it. Producing works in a wide variety of styles, subjects and media, many artists became rich celebrities, while the profession as a whole enjoyed unprecedented public esteem. The author tackles this protean subject by dividing it into themes that reflect its richness and variety. Chapters are devoted to such topics as Mural/ History Painting, the Nude, the Portrait, Sporting Painting, Genre Scenes and Women Painters; and social themes such as the Fallen Woman, Social Realism, Travel and Emigration; as well as movements such as the Pre-Raphaelites. Written with a light touch, full of illuminating anecdotes, and with 600 color illustrations, Victorian Painting is beautiful, highly entertaining and informative. It is also an invaluable reference work since, in addition to many famous and well-loved images, it presents a wealth of fine work by lesser-known artists, and explores the byways as well as highways of Victorian art, demonstrating the astounding range and depth of talent of the age.
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Lionel Lambourne, OBE, was Head of Paintings at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, from 1986 to 1993. His publications include Japonisme (2004) and The Aesthetic Movement (1996), also published by Phaidon.
'There has not been anything as comprehensive as this for the general reader for a long time.' (Bookseller) 'Authoritative and carefully researched ... an extraordinarily vivid account of a fascinating time of change and reform Lambourne will always find the quote from the artist that makes the text come alive and his book, hefty though it is, makes for light and hugely enjoyable reading.' (Guardian) 'Handsomely designed ... furnished with remarkable pictures, many of them unfamiliar the text is excellent.' (The Sunday Times) 'A dream of an art book, combining fabulous illustrations, clear captions, and a text that is fascinatingly informative.' (Observer) 'After [a] long decline the reputation of Victorian artists is probably higher now than it has ever been and this splendid book celebrates this fact in no uncertain terms ... Without being overly scholarly this is an excellent guide to the art of an era that above all celebrated wealth, creativity, energy and self-confidence.' (Country Landowner) 'Anyone entranced by the Lloyd Webber show at the Royal Academy should acquire this massive paperback ... reproductions are excellent, and the text is quirkily informative.' (The Independent, 50 Best Books for Christmas)
'Victorian Painting' used to be a term of abuse, but that's all changed now. While we may queue to be shocked by exhibitions like 'Sensation', what many of us really want to see are paintings that tell a story, full of nostalgic visions of a long-vanished rural past. This heavyweight volume exemplifies the sea change in public taste over the past 30 years and for anyone who enjoysa bit of escapism, this is the book for you. The 626 high-quality colour plates are mostly of old favourites, from Landseer to the Pre-Raphaelites and Wilkie to Waterhouse, and are accompanied by a reliable introduction to British painting throughout the 19th century by the former curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The book is a bit thin on landscape and watercolours - perhaps Britain's greatest and most influencial contributions at the time - and there's nothing on still life, but the 22 chapters include one on women painters and a couple on US and colonial artists. Lots of fairy painters and Burne-Jones, and some stunning reproductions of 'aesthetic' maidens by the little-known friend of Whistler, Albert Moore, betray the author's own favourites, but there's something here for everyone who just enjoys looking at pictures. (Kirkus UK)
Table of contents
The Victorian art establishment; the fresco revival - mural painting; the good and the great - portrait painting; oils versus watercolours - landscape painting; the narrative impulse - genre painting; "Virtual Reality" - the panorama; childhood and sentiment; fairy painting; sporting and animal painting; the pre-Raphaelites; "All Human Life is Here" - cross-sections of society; the nude and classicism; women artists; sombre schools of art - social realism; parting - emigration and war; the frailer sex and the fallen woman; a transatlantic exchange; colonial ties - painters in a wider world; aesthetes and symbolists - the last romantics; impressionism in Britain; the end of an era.