The Aesthetic Movement

Overview

The Aesthetic Movement swept through England in the latter part of the nineteenth century, touching every sphere of the fine and decorative arts and bringing a new freedom to all aspects of design.

In architecture, the dogmatism of Gothic gave way to the charm of Queen Anne. In interiors, heavy Victorian forms were replaced by the lighter, fresher Japanese-inspired shapes; in the graphic arts, innovative methods - coupled with a new approach to...

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Overview

The Aesthetic Movement swept through England in the latter part of the nineteenth century, touching every sphere of the fine and decorative arts and bringing a new freedom to all aspects of design.

In architecture, the dogmatism of Gothic gave way to the charm of Queen Anne. In interiors, heavy Victorian forms were replaced by the lighter, fresher Japanese-inspired shapes; in the graphic arts, innovative methods - coupled with a new approach to form - led to the revitalization of illustration and book design.

Personified by such colourful figures as James McNeill Whistler, Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, the movement was held together by the coherence of its philosophy and its adamant faith in elegance and richness. This beautiful and witty book will prove invaluable to enthusiasts of design and architecture and to all those intrigued by the social history of the period.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Following their motto "art for art's sake," the aesthetes of England in the 1880s and 1890s had sweeping influence on every aspect of the fine and decorative arts. Lambourne, former head of painting at the Victoria and Albert Museum, begins his very readable, anecdotal study of the aesthetic movement with the Japonaiserie fad that developed after trade was opened with Japan in 1854. From this point he quickly moves to the "aesthetic attitude" that developedthe philosophy that beautiful surroundings added to the quality of life. Aesthetics championed beautiful objects and artifacts for everyone, not just the privileged. Lambourne devotes chapters to Whistler, Ruskin, and Oscar Wilde, as expected, but also expands his focus to include the still awe-inspiring furniture of E.W. Godwin and Charles Rennie MacIntosh. This latest in Phaidon's "Decorative Arts" series is as lavishly illustrated as one would expect from this press. A recommended purchase, this will serve as a fine companion to Jeremy Cooper's Victorian and Edwardian Decor: From The Gothic Revival to Art Nouveau (Abbeville, 1987) and John Ruskin and The Victorian Eye (Abrams, 1993).Joseph C. Hewgley, Nashville P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714863191
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 835,214
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lionel Lambourne was Head of Paintings at the Victoria & Albert Museum from 1986 to 1993. He has travelled widely as a curator of exhibitions throughout Great Britain, Germany and Japan. His publications include Utopian Craftsmen (1980) and Victorian Painting (1999), also published by Phaidon.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 6
Ch. 1 Blue and White to Black and White 8
Ch. 2 The Cult of Japan 26
Ch. 3 A Dissonance in Gold and Silver 48
Ch. 4 Artists and Studios 66
Ch. 5 Whistler and Ruskin: 1878 Watershed of the Aesthetic Movement and its Aftermath 90
Ch. 6 Satire and Aestheticism 112
Ch. 7 Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetic Movement in America 134
Ch. 8 E. W. Godwin: 'First of the Aesthetes' 152
Ch. 9 The French Connection - Fin de Siecle 172
Ch. 10 The Sleeping Woman Awakes 190
Ch. 11 The Triumph and Tragedy of the Aesthetic Movement 212
Postscript 230
Notes 233
Selected Bibliography 234
Places of Interest 235
Acknowledgements 237
Index 238
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