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Photographic allegories of Victorian identity and empire

The Victorians admired Julia Margaret Cameron for her evocative photographic portraits of eminent men like Tennyson, Carlyle, and Darwin. But Cameron also made numerous photographs called ‘fancy subjects’ that depicted scenes from literature, personifications from classical mythology, and biblical parables from the Old and New Testament. Julia Margaret Cameron’s ‘fancy subjects’ is the first comprehensive study of these works, examining Cameron’s use of historical allegories and popular iconography to embed moral, intellectual, and political narratives in her photographs. A work of cultural history as much as art history, this book examines cartoons from Punch and line drawings from the Illustrated London News; cabinet photographs and Autotype prints; textiles and wall paper; book illustrations and engravings from period folios, all as a way to contextualize the allegorical subjects that Cameron represented, revealing connections between her ‘fancy subjects’ and popular debates about such topics as biblical interpretation, democratic government, national identity, and colonial expansion.

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, and the popular illustrated press, and she employed allegory to embed latent or secondary meanings in her photographs. She trusted photography to communicate ideas that were vital to the formation of British national identity and she chose subjects that would allow her to embed moral lessons to strengthen the nation’s character. She called these allegorical photographs ‘fancy subjects’ and over the course of a dozen years applied a discerning intellectual framework and deliberate artistic working method to assign specific titles to her imagery. She returned to these

in Julia Margaret Cameron’s ‘fancy subjects’
Epic and lyric in Idylls of the King

fashion of the day’.1 When he wrote The Epic, Tennyson conceived it as a frame for his Morte d’Arthur, to provide a context for readers to allow them to imagine Arthur’s return from Avalon as a way to redeem the moral centre of modern England. In the tale of Arthur’s return, Tennyson used medieval ethics as a kind of historical model for honourable and virtuous action that could stand in opposition to the forces of deceit, treachery, and decadence. The Epic sets this stage well, drawing upon the medieval past to provide guidance and direction for the confused and

in Julia Margaret Cameron’s ‘fancy subjects’

neurasthenia was one of the signs of an individual’s physical, moral and psychological devolution. The majority of this chapter explores the development of this scientific discourse in order to better understand the context for Andreev’s diagnosis. Following a discussion of the science of degeneration, attention will be given to literary decadence. Degeneration emerged as scientific theory, but was soon incorporated into legal, political and literary discourse. The idea of a nation in a state of decline coincided with other cultural trends which viewed the end of the

in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle
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The military in British art, 1815-1914

In an age when engraving and photography were making artistic images available to a much wider public, artists were able to influence public attitudes more powerfully than ever before. This book examines works of art on military themes in relation to ruling-class ideologies about the army, war and the empire. The first part of the book is devoted to a chronological survey of battle painting, integrated with a study of contemporary military and political history. The chapters link the debate over the status and importance of battle painting to contemporary debates over the role of the army and its function at home and abroad. The second part discusses the intersection of ideologies about the army and military art, but is concerned with an examination of genre representations of soldiers. Another important theme which runs through the book is the relation of English to French military art. During the first eighty years of the period under review France was the cynosure of military artists, the school against which British critics measured their own, and the place from which innovations were imported and modified. In every generation after Waterloo battle painters visited France and often trained there. The book shows that military art, or the 'absence' of it, was one of the ways in which nationalist commentators articulated Britain's moral superiority. The final theme which underlies much of the book is the shifts which took place in the perception of heroes and hero-worship.

A sourcebook
Editor: Jonathon Shears

This book, a collection of essays, presents new interpretations of one of the most significant exhibitions in the nineteenth century. It exposes how meaning has been produced around the Great Exhibition held at the Crystal Palace. The book contains a series of critical readings of the official and popular historical record of the Exhibition. The 'Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations', as it was initially referred to, was the product of a number of issues. The first is the liberal shift in politics of the 1830s that popularised laissez-faire attitudes to manufacture and enterprise. The second is the need to address Britain's position as an economic power and moral arbiter in post-Napoleonic Europe. The third is the fortunate incidents that occurred in the 1840s to bring together the men who would shape the venture. Mass production, as much as artisanship, was showcased at the Exhibition and much of the rhetoric of the Official Catalogue concerned the way mechanisation could save time, expense and labour. The fear of ethnic and cultural difference was rampant in Exhibition literature. The presence of women at the Exhibition raised gender issues such as being objectified and the threat of being 'seen'. Increased concern for the welfare of the working classes is one dominant motif of political which the organisers of the Great Exhibition could not avoid engaging. The book portrays the determined use of industrial knowledge, definitions of nation and colony, and the control of the Crystal Palace after the Great Exhibition closed.

– the prostitute – within a narrative of conventional morality (Hershfield, 1996 : 77). Elsewhere I have argued that Salón México embodies the patriarchal conservative values of the institutionalized Revolution which map female virtue onto to a sense of nationhood (Tierney, 1997 ). Here I argue that Fernández’ revolutionary moral and ideological discourse of female sacrifice and patriarchal orthodoxy

in Emilio Fernández
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self-identification for the next thirty years? Third, we can suggest that madness resurfaces due to the extreme poverty and stress that Andreev felt in supporting his family following his father’s death. This theory can definitely be applied to Andreev’s early works, but how do we account for the persistence of this theme even in the years when he had enough money to build a large villa in Vammelsuu? What if we accept that Andreev suffered from some form of illness that psychiatrists and other medical personages associated with moral and mental degeneration? What if

in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle
From Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry to British Romantic art

The challenge of the sublime argues that the unprecedented visual inventiveness of the Romantic period in Britain could be seen as a response to theories of the sublime, more specifically to Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). While it is widely accepted that the Enquiry contributed to shaping the thematics of terror that became fashionable in British art from the 1770s, this book contends that its influence was of even greater consequence, paradoxically because of Burke’s conviction that the visual arts were incapable of conveying the sublime. His argument that the sublime was beyond the reach of painting, because of the mimetic nature of visual representation, directly or indirectly incited visual artists to explore not just new themes, but also new compositional strategies and even new or undeveloped pictorial and graphic media, such as the panorama, book illustrations and capricci. More significantly, it began to call into question mimetic representational models, causing artists to reflect about the presentation of the unpresentable and the inadequacy of their endeavours, and thus drawing attention to the process of artistic production itself, rather than the finished artwork. By revisiting the links between eighteenth-century aesthetic theory and visual practices, The challenge of the sublime establishes new interdisciplinary connections which address researchers in the fields of art history, cultural studies and aesthetics.

Performing popular culture at the Crystal Palace c.1900

4 The armless artist and the lightning cartoonist: performing popular culture at the Crystal Palace c.1900 Ann Roberts Discussions of art at the Crystal Palace have largely focused on historic sculpture and architecture contained in its Fine Arts Courts. Exemplified by the series of official guides produced by the Crystal Palace Company from 1854, its commitment to ‘preserve the high moral and educational tone’ of the original Hyde Park enterprise is clear.1 The Palace’s General Manager, Henry Gillman, for example, writing in the 1899 General Guide to the

in After 1851