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Structure, function and meaning

The British Empire contributed greatly to the globalising of western buildings, towns and cities across the world. The requirements of security necessitated the construction of forts and barracks everywhere, while the need for mobility and ceremonial led to the use of large numbers of tents. As towns and cities developed, building types required for imperial rule, the operations of colonial economies and the comfort and cultural edification of Europeans appeared everywhere. These included government houses, town halls, courthouses, assembly and parliament buildings, company headquarters, customs houses and hotels. As the white bourgeoisie became a major global class, their representative buildings, such as clubs, libraries, museums, theatres, religious institutions, mission stations and schools, also spread worldwide. Some of these were designed for the dissemination of European culture to indigenous peoples, as well as the proselytisation of Christianity. Imperial rulers, their officials and troops additionally required particular settlements for leisure, recreation and the restoration of health, and these included hill stations in many colonies. The new technologies of the age, such as the telegraph and railways, also generated significant structures, widely dispersed. In addition to the great public and civic buildings, residential accommodation was created for Europeans, servants and workers. The result was a striking built environment which offers many insights into the nature, character and social and economic development of imperial rule, not least in the patterns of racial and class inclusion and exclusion which such buildings represented. It is an environment which remains key to the understanding of the modern world, and one which has survived, often through the modern fascination with ‘heritage’ as well as through its incorporation into new postcolonial arrangements.

Kent Fedorowich

For many in the British Empire, the long struggle in Europe between 1914 and 1919 demonstrated the importance of imperial co-operation, unity and self-sufficiency, goals which were increasingly emphasised as the war intensified. The war presented the opportunity for governments to shed older, established conventions, proceed along new paths and experiment with fresh ideas

in Unfit for heroes
Artists’ Printed Portraits and Manuscript Biographies in Rylands English MS 60
Edward Wouk

Rylands English MS 60, compiled for the Spencer family in the eighteenth century, contains 130 printed portraits of early modern artists gathered from diverse sources and mounted in two albums: 76 portraits in the first volume, which is devoted to northern European artists, and 54 in the second volume, containing Italian and French painters. Both albums of this ‘Collection of Engravings of Portraits of Painters’ were initially planned to include a written biography of each artist copied from the few sources available in English at the time, but that part of the project was abandoned. This article relates English MS 60 to shifting practices of picturing art history. It examines the rise of printed artists’ portraits, tracing the divergent histories of the genre south and north of the Alps, and explores how biographical approaches to the history of art were being replaced, in the eighteenth century, by the development of illustrated texts about art.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Katrina Navickas

The Peterloo Massacre was more than just a Manchester event. The attendees, on whom Manchester industry depended, came from a large spread of the wider textile regions. The large demonstrations that followed in the autumn of 1819, protesting against the actions of the authorities, were pan-regional and national. The reaction to Peterloo established the massacre as firmly part of the radical canon of martyrdom in the story of popular protest for democracy. This article argues for the significance of Peterloo in fostering a sense of regional and northern identities in England. Demonstrators expressed an alternative patriotism to the anti-radical loyalism as defined by the authorities and other opponents of mass collective action.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
James A. Beckford and Melanie A. Cole
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Kent Fedorowich

I have often told (the Nationalists) that the British Empire is not an octopus, whose feelers enwrap all to their doom; but something greater, whose benevolent embraces will hold them for ever; from them they will never escape, and in a very little while, never want to

in Unfit for heroes
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library