in Politics personified
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The period from 1830 to 1880 was characterised by a vibrant visual culture in which political likenesses were central, and without understanding this, it is impossible to understand the broader evolution of political culture in this period. Changes in visual culture were critically influenced by developments in technology that allowed likenesses to be circulated in greater numbers, more widely and with greater frequency than ever before. The new technologies that emerged at the start of the period were much more productive than existing visual media. There were a number of overlapping reasons why portraiture, as opposed to other genres, proved to be the most suitable form for visually representing politics between 1830 and 1880. The widespread popularity of parliamentary portraits helped to provide a public face for the political system during this period of transition.

Politics personified

Portraiture, caricature and visual culture in Britain, c. 1830–80


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