High culture and tall chimneys: Art institutions and urban society in Lancashire, 1780-1914
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|Publisher:||Manchester University Press|
High culture and tall chimneys examines how nineteenth-century industrial Lancashire became a leading national and international art centre. By the end of the century almost every major Lancashire town possessed an art gallery, while Lancashire art schools and artists were recognised at home and abroad. The book documents the remarkable rise of visual art in Lancashire, along with the rise of the commercial and professional classes who supported it.
The new industrial towns of Lancashire looked to the cultural history of other great civilisations, and in particular the history of their art, to understand the rapidly changing world around them. Roscoe's Liverpool of the late-eighteenth century emulated Medici's Florence, Fairbairn's Manchester looked to Rome, while a century later Preston built an art gallery as a tribute to Periclean Athens. Yet the art institutions and movements of the county were also distinctively modern. Many embraced the fashions of the time to promote successful commercial exhibitions while others, such as the 'Manchester School' of the 1870s, embraced avant-garde French approaches to create a proto-impressionist movement. Consequently local art institutions often became a cultural battleground for alternative visions of society.
This volume is essential reading for all those with an interest in the social and cultural controversies of the nineteenth century, from art lovers and collectors to urban and social historians.