City of Gold and Mud Painting Victorian London Nancy Rose Marshall

Publication date:
15 Mar 2012
Paul Mellon Centre
320 pages: 267 x 216mm
60 color + 160 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

London was the quintessential modern city of the 19th century, and its artists were the first to rise to the challenge of depicting the many facets of this new world. From the 1850s to 1900, the city underwent vast changes, resulting in rapid urbanization, a dramatic increase in population, and the creation of dramatic contrasts between the "gold" of its wealth and splendour and the "mud" of its squalor and poverty. Artists sought to make sense of this novel and exciting - but often bewildering - environment in images not only of the pageantry, parks, and rituals of the city but also of its newly visible street types: minstrels and chimney sweeps, street urchins, shoe-black boys, and flower girls.

City of Gold and Mud raises questions about the Victorian metropole in terms of how these popular paintings of modern life portrayed national and imperial identities; relationships of race, class, and gender; and the values, desires, and fears of their makers and users. Nancy Rose Marshall draws on artists' writings, arts criticism, popular poetry, news reports, cartoons, tourist guides, religious tracts, and more to paint a vivid and multifaceted picture of London during this critical time in its economic and artistic development.

Nancy Rose Marshall is an associate professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"A handsomely illustrated volume."—Church Times

"Bewildering and engrossing to read, rather like the experience of London itself."—Ruth Guilding, World of Interiors

"By highlighting the depth of paintings produced during this period and showing how they mark a distinct break with the past and forge new ways of seeing, this beautifully illustrated book opens out new areas of research and deserves to be widely consulted in all commentaries on the presentation of 19th-century London and narrative art." Pat Hardy, Apollo Magazine

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