Albion's Classicism

The Visual Arts in Britain, 1550-1660

Edited by Lucy Gent

View Inside Price: $55.00

January 24, 1996
478 pages, 7 x 10
200 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300063813

Published for the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art

Visual arts in Britain between 1550 and 1650 have long been considered part of the classical Italian Renaissance canon. Now a distinguished group of scholars demonstrates that attitudes to classical art were in fact somewhat ambivalent during this period in Britain (or, as it is called poetically, Albion). For town halls and funeral monuments, for paintings and theatrical works, British artists, patrons, and builders made informed choices from the classical vocabulary while continuing to work within systems and circumstances quite distinct from those of classicism. The authors focus on the ways that local influences, habits, and visual sensibilities interacted with classicism and the work and methods of such masters as Inigo Jones in the evolution of British art, architecture, and literature in this era.

Introduced and edited by Lucy Gent, this handsome book was written by contributors who come from the fields of history, art and architectural history, literary criticism, and emblematics. The book consists of essays by Lisa Jardine, Maurice Howard, Deborah Howard, Michael Bath, Paula Henderson, Nigel Llewellyn, Susan Foister, Margaret Aston, Keith Thomas, Christy Anderson, Ellen Chirelstein, Thomas Greene, Sasha Roberts, Alice Friedman, Gloria Kury, and Catherine Belsey.

Lucy Gent was formerly senior lecturer in English at the University of North London.

"A refreshing and stimulating response to central issues concerning British art and architecture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. . . . This book works well as a whole, exploring British responses to, and notions of, the classical and classicism from different angles."—Georgia Clarke, Burlington Magazine

"[A] wide-ranging examination. . . . Although the essays here vary from stimulating rethinking of major themes to insightful probing of the less familiar, the overall level of scholarship is high."—Choice

"An exceptionally stimulating collection of essays. . . . A book that should not be missed by those who are curious about this intriguing period of cultural assimilation. . . . Handsomely produced by Yale, and exceptionally well illustrated."—Renaissance Forum

"At a time when the pretensions of the survey text are no longer sustainable this multivoiced volume provides a more useful model for mapping the representational practices of early modern Britain. Albion's Classicism will become a central text for cultural historians of this period."—M. L. Durning, Art History

"Albion's Classicism is a rich, provocative, and extremely useful volume that should be read by anyone with a serious interest in the culture of early modern Britain."—R. Malcolm Smuts, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historian

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