Three Yale titles make the shortlist for the William M.B. Berger Prize for British Art History

Three Yale University Press books have been shortlisted for the William M.B. Berger Prize for British Art History, one of the most prestigious awards in its field.

The William M.B. Berger Prize, which has come to be recognised as the most prestigious in its field celebrates outstanding achievement in the field of British art history. The Print in Early Modern England: An Historical Oversight (Malcolm Jones),  Digging and Dealing in Eighteenth-century Rome (Ilaria Bignamini and Clare Hornsby) and The Arts of Industry In the Age of Enlightenment (Celina Fox) all made the shortlist, which was announced on Friday. The Prize of £5,000 is awarded annually by the British Art Journal in association with the Berger Collection Educational Trust of Denver, Colorado. The winner will be announced by the writer A.N. Wilson at a ceremony in London on the evening of 5 July 2011.

Yale Books that made the shortlist

The Print in Early Modern England The Print in Early Modern England: An Historical Oversight
by Malcolm Jones

The print repertoire of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in England has been neglected historically, and this remarkable book rectifies a major oversight in the history of English visual art.

The book provides an iconographic survey of the single-sheet prints produced in Britain during the early modern era and brings to light significant recent discoveries from this visual storehouse, many of them noticed only within the last decade. It publishes many works for the first time, as well as placing them and those relatively few others known to specialists in their cultural context. This large body of material is treated broadly thematically, and within each theme, chronologically. Chapters are devoted to portents and prodigies, the formal moralities and doctrines of Christianity, the sects of Christianity – and the often vicious satire of the Catholic confession (but also of Protestant non-conformists) – visual satire of foreigners and ‘others’, domestic political issues – principally, the English Civil War – social criticism and gender roles, marriage and sex, as well as numerical series and miscellaneous visual tricks, puzzles and jokes. The concluding chapter considers the significance of this wealth of visual material – much of it never reproduced before – for the cultural history of England in the early modern era.

This pioneering, important book enlarges the iconographic repertoire of the period, leading to the conclusion that England was not as insular artistically as is often thought, and that the English had access to an astonishingly wide range of iconography. Tracing the European sources of many of these prints leads to the surprising recognition of the influence of the German print repertoire, to an extent that demands a re-appraisal of cultural relations between England and Germany during the early modern era. More

Digging and Dealing in Eighteenth-century Rome Digging and Dealing in Eighteenth-century Rome
by Ilaria Bignamini, Clare Hornsby

This important and long-awaited book offers first overview of all British-led excavation sites in and around Rome in the Golden Age of the Grand Tour in the eighteenth century.

Based on work carried out by the late Ilaria Bignamini, the authors have undertaken the monumental task of tracing sculptures and other works of art that are currently in public collections around the world from their original find sites via the dealers and entrepreneurs to the private collectors in Britain. In the first of two extensively illustrated volumes, approximately fifty sites, each located by maps, are analysed in historical and topographical detail, supported by fifty newly written and researched biographies of the major names in the Anglo-Italian world of dealing and collecting. Essays by Bignamini and Hornsby introduce the field of study and elucidate the complex bureaucracy of the relevant departments of the Papal courts. The second volume of the books is a collection of hundreds of letters from the dealers and excavators abroad to collectors in England, offering a rich source of information about all aspects of the art market at the time. The book is an invaluable resource for scholars working in a rapidly expanding area where European art and cultural history meets archaeology. More

The Arts of Industry in the Age of Enlightenment The Arts of Industry in the Age of Enlightenment
by Celina Fox

This book is about the people who did the work. The arts of industry encompassed both liberal and mechanical realms – not simply the representation of work in the liberal or fine art of painting, but the mechanical arts or skills involved in the processes of industry itself.

Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, Celina Fox argues that mechanics and artisans used four principal means to describe and rationalize their work: drawing, model-making, societies and publications. These four channels – which form the four central themes of this engrossing book – provided the basis for experimentation and invention, for explanation and classification, for validation and authorization, promotion and celebration, thus bringing them into the public domain and achieving progress as a true part of the Enlightenment. The book also examines the status of the mechanical arts from the medieval period to the seventeenth century and explains the motives behind and means by which entrepreneurs, mechanics and artisans sought to present themselves to the world in portraits, and the manner in which industry was depicted in landscape and genre painting, informed by the mechanical skills of close observation and accurate draughtsmanship. The book concludes with a look at the early nineteenth century when, despite the drive by gentlemen of science and fine artists towards specialization and exclusivity, not to mention the rise of the profession of engineers, the broad sweep of the mechanical arts retained a distinct identity within a somewhat chaotic world of knowledge for far longer than has generally been recognized. The debates their presence provoked concerning the relationship of theory to practice and the problematic nature of art and technical education are still with us today. More

The above titles are available from Yale University Press. Keep an eye out for news of the results of the William M.B. Berger Prize, which is announced on 5 July.

Full Shortlist

The Arts of Industry In the Age of Enlightenment (Celina Fox)

George Vernon 1636-1702 ‘Who built this House’ (Cherry Ann Knott)

Savage Grandeur & Noblest Thoughts: Discovering the Lake District 1750-1820 (Cecilia Powell & Stephen Hebron)

British Museum – Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria (Charlotte Gere & Judy Rudoe)

The Print in Early Modern England: An Historical Oversight (Malcolm Jones)

Digging and Dealing in Eighteenth-century Rome (Ilaria Bignamini and Clare Hornsby)

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