James Hamilton

A Strange Business

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Shortlisted for the Apollo Awards 2014
Longlisted for the Art Book Prize 2014
Britain in the nineteenth century saw a series of technological and social changes which continue to influence and direct us today. Its reactants were human genius, money and influence, its crucibles the streets and institutions, its catalyst time, its control the market.
In this rich and fascinating book, James Hamilton investigates the vibrant exchange between culture and business in nineteenth-century Britain, which became a centre for world commerce following the industrial revolution. He explores how art was made and paid for, the turns of fashion, and the new demands of a growing middle-class, prominent among whom were the artists themselves.
While leading figures such as Turner, Constable, Landseer, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Dickens are players here, so too are the patrons, financiers, collectors and industrialists; lawyers, publishers, entrepreneurs and journalists; artists' suppliers, engravers, dealers and curators; hostesses, shopkeepers and brothel keepers; quacks, charlatans and auctioneers.
Hamilton brings them all vividly to life in this kaleidoscopic portrait of the business of culture in nineteenth-century Britain, and provides thrilling and original insights into the working lives of some of our most celebrated artists.
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603 printed pages
Original publication
2014

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