Edwardian Opulence British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century Angus Trumble, Andrea Wolk Rager, A. Cassandra Albinson, Tim Barringer, Pamela M. Fletcher, Imogen Hart, Elizabeth C. Mansfield, Alexander Nemerov

Yale Center for British Art
Publication date:
05 Mar 2013
Yale University Press
420 pages: 305 x 241 x 38mm
350 colour images + 30 b&w illustrations

The Edwardian age was as brief as the Victorian era that preceded it was long. It has been depicted as an indolent summer afternoon of imperial and elite complacency, but also as a period of rapid political, economic, and artistic change, culminating in the First World War. This magnificent book explores themes of power, nostalgia, and a contrasting lightness of touch that characterized the period. Issues of creation, consumption, and display are examined through a range of objects, including portraits by Sargent and Boldini, diamond tiaras and ostrich-feather fans, jewel-like Autochrome color photography, and a spectacular embroidered gown that belonged to the American-born Vicereine of India. Spanning divides of class and geography, this book identifies opulence and leisure as driving forces for the domestic and imperial British economic engine in the early years of the 20th century.

Angus Trumble is senior curator of painting and sculpture at the Yale Center for British Art. Andrea Wolk Rager is visiting assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University.

“As the stunning illustrations in Edwardian Opulence...show, Edwardian society did not shrink from showy ostentation, even vulgarity. This lovely lush book, produced to accompany an exhibition in the spring at the Yale Center for British Art, captures well that flamboyant world of the last decades before the Great War.”—Margaret MacMillan, Spectator

"A dramatic, rich-looking book . . . a terrific survey of art, photographs and fashion of the time."—Lorna Koski, Women's Wear Daily

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