Aestheticism at the V&A

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s major new exhibition on the Aesthetic Movement has just opened. ‘The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900’ will run until 17 July. As well as bringing together paintings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, James Whistler, and Frederic Leighton, the exhibition also examines how the Movement influenced design, fashion, and architecture. A long and lively review by Fiona MacCarthy in The Guardian reflects on the themes of the exhibition and discusses the influence of

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A Renaissance for Gothic?

The Midland Grand hotel beside London’s St Pancras station is about to re-open – 76 years after closing its doors to its last paying guests. Following a £200million refurbishment, this most extraordinary of Victorian Gothic edifices, renamed the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, is now taking reservations ahead of its official opening in May. The occasion represents an extraordinary reversal in the building’s fortunes. When the Midland Grand first opened in 1871, it was the smartest of the Victorian terminus

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Images of Empire: Felice Beato and Photographing the Nineteenth-Century East

Entering its final month, the J. Paul Getty Center’s exhibit Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road offers a rich retrospective of an important Victorian photographer and provides an evocative lens for viewing the global nineteenth century.   Collecting images of Japan, China, India, Korea, and Burma and photos of some of the most important conflicts of the age, including the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny and the Second Opium War, Beato and his work grant a fascinating glimpse into

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Kathryn Hughes, ‘Dickens World and Dickens’s World’

Dickens World opened at Chatham Maritime Docks in May 2007 and it almost immediately met with widespread criticism. Dickens World, emphasize its owners, is an ‘attraction’ and not a theme park. Given that once-aloof museums are increasingly employing the interactive strategies of the theme park, it seems entirely reasonable that a commercial ‘attraction’ such as Dickens World might in turn wish to annex some of the curatorial rigour of the museum. For what strikes you as you walk through Dickens

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Where Angels Fear to Tread

In JVC 15.2, Julie-Marie Strange discusses the relationship between academic and popular history with Andrew Davies whose book  on the scuttlers, The Gangs of Manchester (2008), was adapted for stage by MaD Theatre Company. Mixing music-hall humour and the Madchester sound, Angels with Manky Faces was acclaimed by audiences in Manchester and Liverpool. Read Andrew Davies and Julie-Marie Strange in conversation: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1355%2d5502&volume=15&issue=2&spage=268. Watch Director Rob Lees on the making of Angels with Manky Faces [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkwzfUicehc[/youtube]

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New Agenda – David L. Pike, ‘Afterimages of the Victorian City’

The Victorian street and underworld have had remarkable afterlives in twentieth-century reinterpretations of Victorian cityscapes. In JVC 15.2, David L. Pike explores what persists in our vision of the nineteenth-century city well over a century after it was, so to speak, first seen, and how what persists impacts on our attempts to reconstruct that act of seeing. He sees spectral ‘afterimages’ of the Victorian street  and underground, in a variety of contemporary sources, ranging from Gary Sherman’s Death Line (1972)

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