Dignity and Decadence: Victorian Art and the Classical Inheritance

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9780006862369: Dignity and Decadence: Victorian Art and the Classical Inheritance

A study of the artistic and cultural roots of the cities the Victorians built.

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The starting-point for Richard Jenkyns’s scintillating book is his contention that the Victorian age, which we think of as the great period of Gothic, was so shot through with the influence of the classical past that we should think instead of Victorian art and architecture as the continuing flow forward of two stylistic streams – the Gothic and the classical side by side.

Jenkyns addresses the fashionable question of why these two strains, thoroughly entangled, ripened and ripened as the century ended, until dignity was corrupted into decadence. He subtly traces the very gradual changes through the paintings of Leighton and Alma-Tadema, the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, the ‘aesthetic scripture’ of Pater, even the advertisements for Beecham’s pills, to show how the merely eclectic became the distinctive fin-de-siècle style and eventually began to point the way forward to Modernism.

Jenkyns’s discussion of these grand themes moves brilliantly to and from the general to the particular and is refreshingly unafraid to make judgements. In its course there are, almost incidentally, some of the best descriptions of Victorian pictures, sculpture and architecture to have appeared in recent years.

“With his new book Richard Jenkyns’s reaches a position comparable to that of the late Kenneth Clark, both for the penetration of his artistic insights and the distinction of his writing.”
A.L. ROWSE

“A pleasure and an education to read.”
FREDERIC RAPHAEL, 'Sunday Times'

“Enviable elegant and witty writing: scholarly exposition at its very best.”
PETER JONES, 'The Times, Books of the Year'

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Jenkyns, Richard
Published by Fontana, London (1992)
ISBN 10: 0006862365 ISBN 13: 9780006862369
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Book Description Fontana, London, 1992. Softcover. Reprint. Large octavo size [16x24cm approx]. Very Good condition - Card Covers. Illustrated with Black and White plates. 363 pages The start point for this book is the contention that the Victorian age, which we think of as the great age of Gothic, was so shot through with the influence of the classical past that we should think instead of Victorian art and architecture as the continuing flow forward of two stylistic streams - the Gothic and the Classical - side by side. Bookseller Inventory # 276520

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Jenkyns, Richard
Published by Fontana Press (1992)
ISBN 10: 0006862365 ISBN 13: 9780006862369
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Book Description Fontana Press, 1992. Paperback. Book Condition: Used; Acceptable. Ships from the UK within 24 hours. Some pages are detached but present. Bookseller Inventory # BBI2270709

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Jenkyns, Richard
Published by Fontana Press,, London (1991)
ISBN 10: 0006862365 ISBN 13: 9780006862369
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Book Description Fontana Press,, London, 1991. Paperback. Paperback. 363pp. Integral black and white illustrations throughout. Little rubbed. Very good copy. Bookseller Inventory # 8185

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Richard Jenkyns
Published by Fontana Press 05/11/1992 (1992)
ISBN 10: 0006862365 ISBN 13: 9780006862369
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Book Description Fontana Press 05/11/1992, 1992. Book Condition: used-good. - GREAT BOOK IN GOOD OR BETTER CONDITION, NORMALLY SENT SAME DAY FROM WAREHOUSE. Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780006862369

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Richard Jenkyns
Published by Fontana Press (1992)
ISBN 10: 0006862365 ISBN 13: 9780006862369
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Book Description Fontana Press, 1992. Softcover. Book Condition: Very Good. The starting point for Richard Jenkyns's latest work is his contention that the Victorian age, which we think of as the great age of Gothic, was so shot through with the influence of the classical past that we should instead think of Victorian art and architecture as the continuing flow forward of two stylistic streams--the Gothic and the classical, side by side. In advancing his argument Jenkyns turns our accepted notions of the Victorians upside down, presenting Ruskin as an admirer of Greek statuary, the Houses of Parliament as a classical rather than a Gothic composition, and Thomas Woolner, the only sculptor among the original Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, as a neo-Hellenic carver and poet. Jenkyns moves effortlessly between the general and the particular and is refreshingly unafraid to make judgments. Here are some of the best descriptions of Victorian painting, sculpture, and architecture to have appeared in recent years. From the very gradual changes throughout the paintings of Leighton and Alma-Tadema, to the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, the 'aesthetic scripture' of Pater, and even the advertisements for Beecham's pills, Jenkyns shows how what had been merely eclectic became a distinctive fin-de-siecle style and eventually began to point the way for Modernism. These are grand themes, presented by a masterly guide. Above all Jenkyns is entertaining: Dignity and Decadence is one of the most illuminating and enjoyable books about the Victorians yet to appear. 363 pages. Quantity Available: 1. Shipped Weight: Under 1 kilogram. Category: Art; Art & Design; ISBN: 0006862365. ISBN/EAN: 9780006862369. Inventory No: 230976. Bookseller Inventory # 230976

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