In the Olden Time: Victorians and the British Past

‘When the painter Henry Wallis first exhibited his Chatterton at the Royal Academy in 1856 the painting was acclaimed by the public and critics alike. When he showed it again in the ‘Modern Masters’ section of the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition in the following year it caused a sensation. Two policeman were required to keep the admiring crowds at a safe distance from the canvas…’ – from the Introduction

In this richly textured and wide-ranging survey of Victorian attitudes to the past, author Andrew Sanders builds on Roy Strong’s ground-breaking classic book And when did you last see your father?: The Victorian Painter and British History (1978). Sanders explores the essentially literary nature of Victorian history writing, and he reveals the degree to which painters were indebted to written records both fictional and factual.

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In the Olden Time spread

Starting with a stimulating comparison of Queens Elizabeth I and Victoria, In the Olden Time examines works by poets and painters, essayists and dramatists, architects and musicians, including Jane Austen, John Donne, William Shakespeare and John Soane. Together with a study of religious history as seen through the eyes of architect and critic Augustus Pugin and journalist William Cobbett, this book offers an original view of Victorian responses to British history, presenting a fresh investigation of unexpected Victorian attitudes and the establishment of particular 20th-century prejudices and bias.

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In the Olden Time

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  • What a beautiful looking book. I think I’ll get myself a copy! Thanks for alerting me to it.
    Kind regards, Paul

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