A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Britain
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Britain in the 19th century saw a series of technological and social changes which continue to influence and direct us today. Its reactants were human genius, money, and influence; its crucibles, the streets and institutions; its catalyst, time; its control, the market. In this rich and fascinating book, James Hamilton investigates the vibrant exchange between culture and business in 19th-century Britain, which became a center for world commerce following the industrial revolution. He explores how art was made and paid for, the turns of fashion, and the new demands of a growing middle-class, prominent among whom were the artists themselves. While the leading figures of the world of art and literature are players here, so too are the patrons, financiers, collectors, and industrialists; lawyers, publishers, entrepreneurs, and journalists; artists' suppliers, engravers, dealers, and curators; hostesses, shopkeepers, and brothel keepers; quacks, charlatans, and auctioneers. Hamilton brings them all vividly to life in this kaleidoscopic portrait of the business of culture in 19th-century Britain, and provides thrilling and original insights into the working lives of some of the most celebrated artists.