Sir John Gilbert

Sir John Gilbert : Art and Imagination in the Victorian Age

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Perhaps the most prolific artist of the nineteenth century, Sir John Gilbert (1817-97) was President of the Royal Watercolour Society, a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and illustrator for numerous illustrated papers, novels and children's books. Yet despite his impressive list of achievements, his name has become lost among figures such as Leighton, Watts, Millais and Burne-Jones who dominated the Victorian art world of which he was a part.

Re-assessment of Gilbert's contribution to British art history reveals an artist who created powerful images - strong on narrative, romantic, illustrative and escapist - that have much to offer the viewer today. In addition, Gilbert is an interesting figure, both for what his story can tell us about Victorian taste and the vagaries of the art market, and because of his unusual practice of working contemporaneously in oils, watercolour and as an illustrator; blurring the boundaries between these media and using them interchangeably.

Bringing together a selection of large-scale historical paintings, modest and rarely seen landscape watercolours, illustrated novels and children's books, newspaper illustrations and ephemera from both public and private sources, this groundbreaking publication explores both an unduly neglected figure and some important aspects of Victorian life. Offering first-class, original research, Sir John Gilbert is essential reading for all those with a particular interest in Victorian art, literature and society.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 228 x 270 x 30mm | 1,610g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New ed
  • Includes 100 colour and 75 b&w illustrations
  • 1848220790
  • 9781848220799
  • 1,738,696

Table of contents

Contents: Foreword and Acknowledgments; Introduction; Chronology; Sir John Gilbert: A Biographical Sketch, Vivien Knight and Mark Bills; The Blackheath of John Gilbert, Neil Rhind; John Gilbert as a Book Illustrator: Master of Historical Romance, Paul Goldman; 'A distinctive character to the Illustration of News' Sir John Gilbert and the Pictorial Press, Mark Bills; 'He kinged it there among the nigglers': Sir John Gilbert and the Royal Watercolour Society, Timothy Wilcox; Gilbert in Fairyland: The Enchanted Forest and the Transfigured Landscape, Nicola Bown; Sir John Gilbert and the Old Masters, Kathleen Froyen; Gilbert: His Relationship with Contemporary Practice, Spike Bucklow; A Marriage of Methods: Exploring Gilbert's Ordinary and Extraordinary uses of Watercolour and Gouache Techniques, Libby Sheldon; Gilbert's Frames and their Context in Guildhall Art Gallery, Caroline Oliver; Utility, Versatility and Obscurity: the Sources and Selection of Sir John Gilbert's Oil Painting Materials, Sally Woodcock; Select Bibliography; Gilbert's Account with his Colourman, Charles Roberson & Co.; Technical Examination of Sir John Gilbert's Watercolours and Oil Paintings from the Collection of Guildhall Art Gallery, London; Selected List of Works Exhibited or Sold in Gilbert's Lifetime, from Published Sources and Sketchbook References; Index; Picture Credits.
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Review quote

'this book, with its many essays and illustrations, will be of value not only to those interested in Gilbert but also anybody interested in the wider topic of Victorian culture and society.' Arlis
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About Sally Woodcock

Spike Bucklow is a conservation scientist at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge. Sally Woodcock is an easel paintings conservator in private practice.
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