Local to National: Victorian Industrialist Art Collectors’ Geographies
PDF (English)

Słowa kluczowe

F.G. Stephens
Victorian collectors
the Athenaeum

Jak cytować

Codell, J. (2023). Local to National: Victorian Industrialist Art Collectors’ Geographies. Artium Quaestiones, 34(34), 197–220. https://doi.org/10.14746/aq.2023.34.7

Liczba wyświetleń: 74

Liczba pobrań: 58


After 1850, the middle and working classes sought cultural education, which John Ruskin, among others, identified as a signifier of civilization and national greatness. Working Men’s Colleges, three 1870 university Slade Professorships in art history, proliferating art publications, and emerging regional museums offered opportunities to become conversant with visual art were then equated with social mobility and Englishness. Amid this cultural nationalism, critic F. G. Stephens’s 100+ Athenaeum series, “The Private Collections of England” (1873–1887), transformed collectors into national heroes. Scholars have noted the rising profile of collectors in 19th-century Europe and the US, in which Stephens’s series participated. Stephens detailed these collections’ expanded geography in England’s industrial north, turning local art collecting into a national, unifying force, a transformation made possible by his periodical serialization itself. These collectors, industrialists, merchants and bankers exemplified a new middle-class social, cultural and political authority. Most of them intended to bequeath their collections philanthropically to museums, thus shaping public tastes and the canon. They were personally and socially networked with artists and with each other, often working in complementary industries. Stephens interspersed his detailed descriptions of artworks with exhibition histories across translocal and transnational spaces, using the power of the press to weave a network between collectors and the public and a shared cultural history that endorsed collectors’ new public identity. However, Stephens also raised tensions about the geography of collecting, emphasizing collectors’ local places while presenting them as shaping a national space in their homogeneous taste and support of the same living artists and even the same pictorial subjects. In this way, Stephens straddled and flattened differences between national and regional market forces when, ironically, England’s art market was be coming increasingly international. This geographical layering is explored here in the context of the rise of provincial art institutions, the period’s notion of national schools and in anticipating the features of the current geohistory of art. I will explore two devices associated with the periodical press: ekphrasis and serialization, both of which Stephens deploys. Stephens wrote long ekphrases on works in these collection and omitted illustrations, noting in several comments that the Athenaeum’s middle-class readers were already familiar with artists’ works. This presumption and his use of 19th-century serialization, used by novelists whose chapters appeared across multiple issues of periodicals, combing to create a powerful force binding readers to his elevation of collectors’ social, national and cultural roles.

PDF (English)


Appadurai A., The Social Life of Things, Cambridge 1986 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511819582

Codell J., “From English School to British School: Modernism, Revisionism and National Culture in the Writings of M. H. Spielmann”, in: Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, available online: 2015 [accessed: March 23, 2023]

Codell J., “From Rebels to Representatives: Masculinity, Modernity and National Identity in Histories of Pre-Raphaelitism”, in: Writing the Pre-Raphaelites, eds. T. Barringer & M. Giebelhausen, Aldershot 2009, pp. 53–79

Codell J., “Sentiment, the Highest Attribute of Art”, Dickens Studies Annual 1992(22), pp. 233–252

Codell J., “The Art Press and Its Parodies: Unraveling Networks in Swinburne’s 1868 Academy Notes”, Victorian Periodicals Review 2011, 44(2), pp. 165–183 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/vpr.2011.0010

Codell J., Victorian Artists’ Autograph Replicas, New York 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780367145835

Codell J., “Victorian Artists’ Letters: Rhetoric, Networks, and Social Capital”, Arts 2022, 10, DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040073

Codell J., ed. The Political Economy of Art, Madison NJ 2008

DaCosta Kaufmann T., Toward a Geography of Art, Chicago and London 2004

DaCosta Kaufmann T., C. Dossin, and B. Joyeux-Prunel, eds. Circulations in the Global History of Art, New York 2017 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315572062

Douglas M., Risk and Blame: Essays in Cultural Theory, London 1992

Elsner J., “Art History as Ekphrasis”, Art History 2010, 33, pp. 10–27 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8365.2009.00720.x

Fawcett T., The Rise of English Provincial Art, Oxford 1974

Feigenbaum G. and I. Reist, eds. Provenance: An Alternate History of Art, Los Angeles 2013

Fletcher P. and A. Helmreich, “The Periodical and the Art Market”, Victorian Periodicals Review 2008, 41(4), pp. 323–351 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/vpr.0.0055

Gramlich J., “Reflections on Provenance Research: Values – Politics – Art Markets”, Journal for Art Market Studies 2017(2), pp. 1–14

Heffernan J., “Ekphrasis and Representation”, New Literary History 1991, 22(2), pp. 297–316 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/469040

Heffernan J., Museum of Words: The Poetics of Ekphrasis from Homer to Ashbery, Chicago 1994

Hughes L. and M. Lund, The Victorian Serial, Charlottesville 1991

Landow G., “There Began to be a Great Talking about the Fine Arts”, in: The Mind and Art of Victorian England, ed. Josef P. Altholz, Minneapolis 1976, pp. 124–145

Livesey R., “Provincialism at Large: Reading Locality, Scale, and Circulation in Nineteenth-Century Britain”, Journal of Victorian Culture 2023, 20(10), pp. 1–6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jvcult/vcad031

Loizeaux E.B., “Ekphrasis and textual consciousness”, Word & Image 1991, 15(1), pp. 76–96 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02666286.1999.10443976

Lübbren N., “‘Toilers of the Sea’: Fisherfolk and the Geographies of Tourism in England, 1880–1900”, in: The Geographies of Englishness, eds. Peters Corbett, Holt and Russell London 2002, pp. 29–63

Macleod D.S., Art and the Victorian Middle Classes, Cambridge 1996

Macleod D.S., “F. G. Stephens, Pre-Raphaelite Critic and Art Historian”, The Burlington Magazine 1986, 128(199), pp. 398–403 + 405–406

Macleod D.S., “Mid-Victorian Patronage of the Arts: F. G. Stephens’s The Private Collections of England”, The Burlington Magazine 1986, 128(1001), pp. 597–607

Mitchell W.J.T., Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation, Chicago 1994

Montfort P. de, “‘Two to make a Brotherhood’: F. G. Stephens, Art Criticism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood”, Review of the Pre-Raphaelite Society 2008, 16(2), pp. 57–69

Pearce S., On Collecting, New York 1995

Peters Corbett D., Y. Holt, F. Russell, eds. The Geographies of Englishness, London 2002

Raux S., “From Mariette to Joullain”, in: G. Feigenbaum and I. Reist, eds. Provenance: An Alternate History of Art, Los Angeles 2013, pp. 86–103

Ruskin J., Complete Works. Ed. E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. 39 vols. London 1903–12

Simons G., “W. M. Thackeray’s Art Exhibition Reviews: Art Criticism, Newspaper Journalism, and Social History”, Nineteenth Century Studies 2014, 28, pp. 43–56 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5325/ninecentstud.28.2014.0043

Sorensen D., ed. Territories and Trajectories, Durham 2018 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv11cw6g9

Stammers T., The Purchase of the Past: Collecting Culture in Post-Revolutionary Paris c.1790–1890, Cambridge 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108781268

Turpin A., “The Value of a Collection”, in: Concepts of Value in European Material Culture, 1500–1900, eds. B. De Munck, D. Lyna, London 2015, pp. 255–284

Vázquez O.E., Inventing the Art Collection: Patrons, Markets and the State in Nineteenth-Century Spain, Philadelphia 2001