Over the past thirty years, our ideas about the cultures of Empire have been transformed. Contemporary reflections on Empire by writers and artists are widely published and displayed, and museums have witnessed a growing number of exhibitions devoted to aspects of the rich and varied visual culture that emerged in places under British governance, from the Americas to India and Australasia. And yet, since the vast Imperial exhibitions of the early twentieth-century there has been no wide-ranging presentation of the objects made across the British Empire. This publication, which accompanies a major Tate Britain exhibition, fills that gap.
Through broad groupings within thematic chapters – Mapping, Collecting, History, Portraiture, Cultural Exchange and the Return of Empire – leading scholars focus on how particular objects tell the history of life under British rule. Paintings by well-known artists such as John Singer Sargent and Sidney Nolan are illustrated alongside Benin bronze heads and Mughal miniatures in a survey that ranges from sixteenth century colonialism through to the projection of Britain’s imperial might in the late nineteenth century to its decline in the post-war era. Exploring how artists have represented and critiqued the diverse places, people and events that make up the legacy of Empire, our expert authors have created a vital book on a subject of broad contemporary interest.
Contributers to this publication:
Alison Smith is Lead Curator, Nineteenth Century British Art, Tate.
David Blayney Brown is Curator of British Art, 1790–1950, Tate.
Carol Jacobi is Curator of British Art, 1850–1915, Tate.
With contributions from Gus Casely-Hayford, Annie Coombes, Caroline Corbeau-Parsons, Paul Gilroy, Nick Thomas and Sean Willcock.
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