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The Arts of Industry in the Age of Enlightenment

Overview

During the 18th century, the arts of industry encompassed both liberal and mechanical realms—not simply the representation of work in the fine art of painting, but the skills involved in the processes of industry itself. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, Celina Fox argues that mechanics and artisans used four principal means to describe and rationalize their work: drawing, model-making, societies, and publications. These four channels, which form the four central themes of this engrossing book, provided the...

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Overview

During the 18th century, the arts of industry encompassed both liberal and mechanical realms—not simply the representation of work in the fine art of painting, but the skills involved in the processes of industry itself. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, Celina Fox argues that mechanics and artisans used four principal means to describe and rationalize their work: drawing, model-making, societies, and publications. These four channels, which form the four central themes of this engrossing book, provided the basis for experimentation and invention, for explanation and classification, for validation and authorization, and for promotion and celebration, thus bringing them into the public domain and achieving progress as a true part of the Enlightenment.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
“Fox’s study of the 18th century is thorough and impressive." — Choice
Technology and Culture - Pamela H. Smith
"[A] remarkable book . . . an original account of the representation of the mechanical arts by both 'liberal' and 'mechanical' artists that is of extraodinary scope and depth. Fox makes an important contribution to literature in the history of science and technology that highlights the interaction between artisans and scholars in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. . . . Such a short review cannot do justice to the richness of the visual and verbal feast Fox sets before the reader, studded as it is with fascinating nuggets of information and visual discoveries."—Pamela H. Smith, Technology and Culture
Historians of British Art - Art Books Prize
Winner of the 2011 Historians of British Art Books Prize in the Pre-1800 category
Choice
“Fox’s study of the 18th century is thorough and impressive." — Choice
Library Journal
Fox, chair on the Blue Plaques Panel of English Heritage, former keeper of art at the Museum of London, and independent scholar and museums adviser, thoroughly surveys the connections among art, science, engineering, and British history in her latest work, published in association with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. She makes a case that fine arts and industrial arts experienced a false division over the years, and she harkens back to the time when arts and sciences were whole and all-inclusive. Through Fox's presentation of the history of trades and her explorations of drawings and models and their use in scientific societies, the reader relearns the intellectual and practical integration of art and design. Fox is utterly complete in her scope and encompasses all aspects of the theory and history of her subject. VERDICT Fox has provided scholars with a well-researched and definitive account of the relationship between art and science in 18th-century England.—Nadine Dalton Speidel, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Celina Fox is an independent scholar and journalist, formerly assistant director at the Museum of London.

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