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

This book examines the role of political likenesses in a half-century that was crucial for the political modernisation of Britain, a two-party system that began to take shape and politicians became increasingly accountable and responsive to public opinion. Political language, especially electoral rhetoric, has been accorded considerable weight by recent studies in building broad coalitions of political support in popular and electoral politics. The book studies political likenesses, the key mode of visual politics at this time, as part of a nuanced analysis of contemporary political culture and the nature of the representative system. It examines a diverse range of material including woven silk portraiture, oil paintings, numismatics and medals, banners, ceramics, statuary and memorials as well as items printed on paper or card. After an analysis of the visual culture spawned by the reform bills of 1831-1832, the book shows how Conservative and Liberal/Reformer identities were visualised through semi-official series of portrait prints. The pictorial press, photographs and portrait testimonials, statues and memorials, MPs were venerated as independent representatives and champions of particular localities, trades, interests or issues, and not party hacks. Depictions of Lord Palmerston and his rivals, including Lord John Russell and Lord Derby, in the 1850s and 1860s often underplayed in pictorial representations to emphasise physical and political vigour. The role of political portraits and cartoons in the decade after the passing of the 1867 Representation of the People Act is also discussed.

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like HB (John Doyle)’s Political Sketches, lithographic caricature magazines, or as woodcuts in political-satirical unstamped publications such as Figaro in London.49 Portrait prints in the 1830s and 1840s were frequently published as series, often called portrait galleries. Cartes de visite were not simply massproduced images of individuals but were parts of series of photographs taken of the same sitter, which were collected and grouped together.50 Miller_PoliticsPersonified_Printer.indd 7 23/09/2014 11:54 8 Politics personified The serial nature of much of

in Politics personified

-Victorian decorum, whose overwhelming sense of public duty was forged in the era of pre-Reform politics and whose essentially ‘execu- Sir Robert Peel as actor-dramatist tive-minded’ view of government made him uncomfortable with the gradual emergence of organised political parties in the aftermath of the 1832 Reform Act.25 Peel was, famously, the last Prime Minister never to have been photographed; his relative anonymity – in spite of a steadily increasing number of portraits, prints, engravings, cartoons, busts, medallions and household objects bearing approximations of his

in Politics, performance and popular culture
MPs and portraiture

electorate, made and unmade ministries.1 Examining these images tells us much about how parliamentarians were perceived, collectively and individually, by their constituents and the broader Victorian public. National exposure in the pictorial press and portrait prints reduced the traditional delay between politicians coming to national prominence and their image being circulated. Images were therefore crucial in helping to forge national political reputations. Local representations of MPs have to be situated in the specific local political cultures that were such a

in Politics personified
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with net or gauze’).72 Working people also acquired Caroline memorabilia for their own homes: engraved portraits, printed cotton handkerchiefs, and a profusion of plates, wall-plaques, jugs, cups and saucers. Most of this was cheap earthenware, suggesting high-volume sales to a working-class market, with inscriptions to match: 175 Chase 06_Tonra 01 22/01/2013 11:09 Page 176 176 1820 Would you wish to know a Bright Star of the Morn That cheers a whole nation, all lost and forlorn ‘Tis that Feminine Planet; O long may she shine And Heaven protect her; Our QUEEN

in 1820
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drawing functions as a dialogue between them, as they come up with ideas for 1.47 The Two Gullivers, The Place Where Gullivers Sleep, 1998, view of the installation with portraits printed on pillows. National Art Gallery, Tirana, Albania. Photo: The Two Gullivers. Courtesy: The Two Gullivers 93 ­ erformances; it is also a document of the performance that enables reenactp ment by others later; finally, it is a performance itself, being active in nature; and the drawing gets re-activated in performance. Conclusion This sketch of the origins and beginnings of

in Performance art in Eastern Europe since 1960