Putting history into art history: on 18th-century British Art

THE ART NEWSPAPER | David Bindman:

David Solkin’s Art in Britain 1660-1815 is a very welcome successor in the Pelican History of Art series to Ellis Waterhouse’s Painting in Britain 1530-1790. The latter first appeared in 1953, and a fifth edition was published in 1994, with an introduction by the late Michael Kitson. Waterhouse’s title unambiguously restricted the scope of his volume to painting. Solkin’s title Art in Britain suggests a range beyond painting and it does have some room for printmaking, but sculpture is not considered at all; it could have had the same title as Waterhouse’s volume, except for the dates… Read more

Image: Benjamin West’s The Death of General Wolfe (detail shown here, 1770) was an example of a successful intervention in the public space of the Royal Academy because it raised questions about the painting of contemporary events in the grand manner