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The promotion of the visual arts in Britain, 1835-1860.

THE PROMOTION OF THE VISUAL ARTS

IN BRITAIN, 1835-1860(1)

In his response to the government vote of 1832 to allocate funds for the erection of a new National Gallery, Robert Peel voiced the political anxieties which fuelled an intense exploitation of the fine arts during much of the Victorian era.

In the present times of political excitement, the exacerbation

of angry and unsocial feelings might be much softened by the

effects which the fine arts have ever produced upon the

minds of men.(2)

The value of the visual arts,(3) so long the exclusive preserve of the aristocracy, as a humanizing influence upon the subordinate classes and an aid to industry was examined by Royal Commissions, initiated under Peel's administration, beginning in 1835 and continuing until the successful Great Exhibition was mounted in Hyde Park in 1851.

However, interest in the arts and their presumed effect upon people was not confined to the government. With the success of industrialism came a rapidly burgeoning class of wealthy manufacturers who, in keeping with their rise to prominence in financial realms, turned to some of the traditional trappings of the aristocracy to establish their place in polite society. The fine mansions of these industrial magnates were decorated with art purchased from a new class of entrepreneurs, the art dealers, who sold them prestige and power in the guise of paintings.(4) In addition, certain members of the upper and upper-middle classes who espoused philosophical radicalism were moved to establish societies for the propagation of the arts among a broader spectrum of society than was usually involved in their appreciation and purchase. Common to all three of these groupings was the desire to promote the appreciation and use of art throughout society, a grand goal with interesting motives and results.

The purpose of this essay is to examine, by means of a Marxian analysis, the intentions and methods which characterized each group's interest in the extension of the arts to the populace during the period stretching from 1835 to about 1860. Some work has already been produced on this subject, notably John Seed's very helpful article on the development of an "art world" in Manchester, and Adrian Rifkin's extensive critique of the government-instituted Schools of Design in the mid-nineteenth century.(5) However, to my knowledge, no analysis of this sort has been applied to the Art Union of London in particular, nor to the overall promotion of art in Victorian Britain. I have chosen a Marxian approach for its utility, not for ideological reasons. The subversion of art to the status of a commodity for mass consumption by the elites of a highly stratified society invites the application of a class-sensitive critique. Marx's observations on the nature of the social classes, their composition and relative status, and the desire to preserve class interests which motivates the actions of their members, offer considerable insight into the operation of Victorian society. Particularly relevant to the exploitation of art is the statement by Marx and Engels that

the bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation

hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has

converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet [the

artist], the man of science, into its paid wage-labourers.(6)

The Marxian concepts used here are derived from the Manifesto of the Communist Party which was initially published in London in the year of the revolutions, 1848.

Before entering into the central features of this discussion, it is necessary to understand the aesthetic underpinnings of the drive to inculcate an appreciation of the arts throughout society. The Utilitarians and the Evangelicals, who set the moral and intellectual tone of Victoria's reign, generally eschewed all but the most didactic art in an effort to establish a prudent, rational society out of the ashes of the debauched Regency.(7) Coupled with the conviction that art should convey a moral message was the classical ideal which equated beauty with truth, a view voiced by Keats in his poem Ode on a Grecian Urn, written in 1819. Following the assertion of the Greek philosophers that the eye enlightened the soul, early Victorians believed that simple contemplation of beautiful objects was spiritually uplifting. As Richard Altick has remarked:

The idea that art should teach and inspire as mull as give

pleasure was not new; it was, indeed, older than Horace's

dulce et utile. But seldom had it been so firmly established

as it was in this period, when society's need for self-understanding,

criticism, and direction was so urgent.(8)

Moral elevation was but one factor behind the promotion of the arts by the early Victorians; social and economic agendas also figured prominently in the packaging of art for mass consumption. The government and Midland capitalists alike had a vested interest in maintaining Britain's supremacy in the manufacturing sector, which had faltered with the financial crisis of 1836. British goods needed to be well designed and crafted in order to appeal to an increasingly sophisticated market both in Europe and at home. On a social level, Britain had passed important milestones in the 1830s and 1840s which made government and industrialists more conscious of their dependence upon each other. In the wake of the 1832 Reform Bill, which enfranchised a considerable portion of the property-owning middle class, parliamentary representatives had to take seriously the political demands of the industrialists. In turn, industry courted the largely aristocratic members of parliament in order to gain social benefits for the Midland towns. Moreover, both the aristocracy and the wealthy middle class were newly convinced of their reliance upon the large and increasingly vocal working class, which had made its strength known with the publication of the People's Charter in 1838 and the threatened mass demonstration in London in 1848.

This investigation will analyze the manifestation and application of the moral, social, and economic dimensions of art promotion on the part of the Parliamentary Select Committees which reported in 1835-36 and 1841-47, certain wealthy industrialists, and the Art Union of London, a society which distributed art by lottery starting in 1836.

I

The first of the parliamentary committees dealing with the arts in the nineteenth century was conducted under the chairmanship of William Ewart during 1835-36. Ewart, a Radical Member of Parliament from Liverpool, was surrounded by fellow radicals Benjamin Hawes, Joseph Hume, and Thomas Wyse, by Henry Thomas Hope (son of a well-known art collector), Ridley Colbourne, Sir Robert Peel, Joseph Brotherton, and a number of gentlemen interested in the arts. Properly termed the Select Committee on Arts and Manufactures, it was commissioned by the House of Commons

to inquire into the best means of extending a knowledge of

the Arts and of the Principles of Design among the People

(especially the manufacturing population) of the country; and

also to inquire into the constitution, management and effects

of Institutions connected with the Arts.(9)

The commissioners examined witnesses as diverse as Dr. Gustave Waagen, the Director of the Royal Gallery in Berlin, and manufacturers of iron, silk cloth, bronze, and porcelain. Dr. Waagen was questioned about the level of art education received by the German people and its effect upon their appreciation of design. He described a school system which provided the students rudimentary training in drawing at an elementary level and more sophisticated tuition at the secondary schools. This proved to be considerably more, and earlier, art instruction than that afforded British school children. When asked whether art instruction throughout the school years had "a tendency to produce taste among the people by exercising the eye"(10) and whether drawing should form part of the national education in Britain, Dr. Waagen answered in the affirmative. Further questions on the effect of simple art education upon the populace were asked with a view to establishing the moral and economic impacts:

Have you seen any considerable change in the character of

the people produced by attention to these subjects? - We

have not only seen a great influence produced upon the

people, but we have found among the people a great desire

themselves to possess works of art.(11)

Satisfied that practical exposure to the arts would have salutary moral and economic effects upon the British manufacturing population, the committee proceeded to ascertain what would be the best mode of applying the arts to manufacturing. Dr. Waagen, sweeping aside some four hundred years of aesthetic theory which sharply distinguished the fine arts from the decorative or industrial arts, responded with the suggestion that the Medieval conception of art held the key:

In former times artists were more workmen, and the

workmen were more artists, as in the time of Raphael, and

it is very desirable to restore this happy connexion.(12)

Realizing that the manufacturing population had little experience with the arts, either on a practical level or as an aesthetic experience, the committee requested Dr. Waagen's opinion on the best means of developing good taste in art. His suggestions, to provide people with easy access to collections of "the most remarkable monuments of antiquity and of the middle ages," to begin a campaign to purchase art for the nation, to establish kunstvereine (art unions), and to employ artists to decorate public buildings, were all eventually acted upon.

When asked about the competitive quality of fancy English-made goods, the manufacturing sector witnesses generally compared England's production unfavourably with similar items manufactured in France. Under carefully directed questioning by Ewart most agreed that the root cause of this weakness was the lack of artistic training on the part of the workers, although one witness, J. C. Robertson (editor of the Mechanics' magazine), blamed the high cost of living and low piece-work wages of England for poor design.

As a result of this inquiry, Schools of Design were established in London and the major manufacturing towns with the aim of training the working classes in the finer points of industrial design.(13) Thus began what was to become an increasingly fervent government program for improving the people by the propagation of art.

The second committee concerning the arts was occasioned by the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament and resulted in the appointment of a Royal Commission on the Promotion of the Fine Arts. Prince Albert, then twenty-two years old, was named to the chairmanship of this commission, which was duly surprised at the active role he assumed in the conduct of the investigation from 1841 to 1847. Reappointment of at least five of the commissioners from 1836 to this new inquiry ensured considerable continuity. Peel, Ewart, Wyse, Hope, and Hawes were joined by Philip Pusey, Colonel Rawdon, Monckton Milnes (later Lord Houghton), Lord Brabazon, and Lord Francis Egerton (later 1st Earl of Ellesmere) to form a working group of "experienced amateurs of the arts and men who were concerned with the arts as educational and sociological factors."(14) Witnesses were called upon to give their opinions on the utility and feasibility of decorating the interior of the new Houses of Parliament with frescoes, an art-form which had not been practised for centuries in Britain and which, in the testimony of a number of the witnesses, had dubious durability in so damp a climate.(15) Nevertheless, the committee's report called for the establishment of a fresco industry in Britain for the purpose of decorating public buildings with uplifting national scenes.

The motivations behind this committee's recommendations superseded practical concerns. Promotion of national pride through the development of a distinctively English art was paramount. Committee minutes record this emphasis on the development of British cultural products:

The first conviction that should press upon us should be that

our own country and our own English feelings are sufficient

to produce and foster a characteristic style of art; that though

we might share much of the spirit of the Germanic nations,

this spirit would be modified, perhaps refined, by our peculiar

habits; above all, we should entirely agree with the Germans

in concluding that we are as little in want of foreign artists

to represent our history and express our feelings, as for

soldiers to defend our liberties.(16)

This aim was supported by the ubiquitous urge to elevate public taste:

"The habit," says Reynolds [Sir Joshua Reynolds, the

painter], of contemplating and brooding over the ideas of

great geniuses |till you find yourself warmed by the contrast,

is the true method of forming an artist-like mind. It is

impossible, in the presence of those great men, to think or

to invent in a mean manner; a state of mind is acquired that

receives ideas only which relish of grandeur and simplicity."(17)

Finally, a desire to establish an intermediate class of artistic workers who could provide the manufacturing and building industries with good-quality ornamentation, was expressed:

We want, in fact, a middle class of artists; me have only at

present Artists of the highest sort, - those who paint

pictures; and of the lowest who make patterns of the worst

description for manufacture; me want a middle class who

have the knowledge of Artists and the skill of Ornamentalists

... a class of Artists who should execute such Statues as

those in Henry the Seventh's Chapel, which are not good

enough to be the work of first-rate Sculptors, but still are

sufficiently good for the purpose.(18)

The agendas of the select committees of 1836 and 1841 are remarkably alike in tone and action. Both reflect the government's concerns over the stability of the British social structure, which was facing challenges from the middle classes in the form of organized agitation for free trade,(19) and from the working classes, who had rallied to demand universal suffrage with the publication of the People's Charter in 1838. At the same time, the Empire, which was so greatly dependant upon Britain's ability to market her goods at home and abroad and maintain her position of technical supremacy, was challenged by France's advances in the production of highly attractive and competitive luxury goods. Parliament's responses to these circumstances, the establishment of Schools of Design and the promulgation of the Great Exhibition in 1851, were calculated to maintain the status quo while giving the appearance of serving middle and lower-class interests.

Heroic efforts were made by the government to wed the decorative or industrial arts to the fine arts, a marriage which had been declared null during the Renaissance, in an attempt to confer borrowed glory on the rather mundane task of producing ornamental fire grates and other durables. For centuries the arts represented that highly desirable but, previously, unattainable realm of polite society. To offer the illusion that the middle and working classes could participate in the mystical appreciation of and ability to produce art, thereby becoming the equals of the wealthy and titled, was a highly effective strategy for pacifying the populace. Although often cloaked in rhetoric claiming that moral elevation and a sense of beauty would be imparted to society in general, the purpose of the government Schools of Design was simply to train designers who could enhance the appearance and saleability of manufactured goods. Henry Cole's statement to the Select Committee n the Schools of Design in 1849 bluntly attests to this:

I apprehend that the assumption in starting these schools

was, that the benefit should be strictly commercial. I do not

think that the schools were created for aesthetic purposes, or

for general education purposes ... the age is so essentially

commercial, that it hardly looks to promoting anything of this

kind except for commercial purposes.(20)

The schools mere intended to produce working-class artisans - artists in name only. John Buonarotti Papworth, the first Director of the Central School, expressed the necessity of limiting the sort of training made available to prospective designers:

one of the events to be feared ... is, that by those higher

departments of art, where human figures are the chief matter,

young men might be tempted to leave the intended object to

pursue that which is more accredited and honoured, and to

the disadvantage of the manufacturing arts.(21)

Thus warned, the Council of the School of Design, a body comprised of Royal Academicians, manufacturers, and distinguished amateurs, took drastic measures to prevent the defection of students to careers as painters and sculptors:

The Council has resolved that the Figure should not be the

basis of education; 2nd that every Student who entered the

school of design should be obliged to sign a declaration not

to practise either as Historical - Portrait Painter - or Landscape

Painter(22)

Though minor modifications to this resolution were subsequently made, it highlights the government's determination to maintain the existing class structure in England. Art acted as a social elevator for successful painters, who were most often sons of lower-middle-class merchants and tradesmen. "An English painter could enter the orbit of the upper middle class if he were elected an Academician, whereupon he acquired the title of Esquire like a born gentleman."(23)

Each successive director of the Schools of Design rigorously attempted to ensure that students did not aspire to a career above their station. The temptation to become artists was minimized under Papworth who banned drawing of the human figure from the curriculum. This, however, proved impractical since an ability to render accurately the human form was a requisite of some varieties of industrial art. Consequently, during Dyce's administration (1838 to 1843) human figure drawing was grudgingly permitted(24)

as a special acquisition, to be learned after ... a preliminary

course of ornamental drawing; and which is not to be entered

upon at all unless the future purposes of the student should

render it desirable.(25)

To curb any possible abuse of this rule by those who might falsely claim the need of a course in the human figure, each student was required to declare, within the first three months of his enrolment, what branch of design he intended to enter. Students were exhorted to set their sights on industrial careers with reminders that disappointment and poverty were the lot of many would-be painters and that designers could expect a much more stable and comfortable life. Such paternalistic treatment did not arise from a concern for the financial welfare of the workers, rather it was motivated to an enormous extent by the larger economic considerations reflected in the Report of the Select Committee of 1835-36:

Unless the Arts and Manufactures be practically combined,

the unsuccessful aspirants after the higher branches of the

Arts will be infinitely multiplied, and the deficiency of

manufacturing-artists will not be supplied.(26)

Important as these commercial interests were, the preservation of the existing social hierarchy was the overarching reason for sharply delimiting the type of art training given to working class students. Dyce, himself "an artist whose education and pursuits have tended to a higher kind of art than that to which the school [of design] is devoted,"(27) "envisaged a strictly ordered Christian society in which every person should be trained only for that class in society in which he was predestined by God to serve."(28) William Cooke Taylor, Inspector of the Schools of Design from 1845 and Whig supporter, maintained that

nothing could be more dangerous to society than for the

middle classes to find their position perilled and their social

relations dislocated by the upheaving of educated pauperism

from beneath. To confer on the lower classes that Knowledge

which Lord Bacon wisely identifies with Power, and to leave

the classes immediately above them in the deplorable state

of weakness which necessarily results from bad or imperfect

education, is to prepare an assured way for a revolutionary

pressure of class upon class ...(29)

By means of a general education in art appreciation (taste), conceived to undergird the work of the Schools of Design, the labouring classes would be "improved" and a social crisis would be averted.

Taste has an Economic, a Moral, and a Social value, for it

tends to increase production, it produces healthy feelings of

content, and it renders men disinclined to disturb Law and

Order.(30)

Clearly, the propagation of art training for the mechanical workers was concerned with the preservation of the social hierarchy and with the protection of the economic supremacy of the British Empire. In his critique of the government establishment of schools of industrial design, Adrian Rifkin attacks what he labels the "Utopian dream of a wise and cultivated workforce" envisioned by the proponents of industrial capitalism:

The relation between the words art and industry, fine arts and

industrial art, industry and design, and the relations between

these types of couplets constitute a special discourse on the

paradise that capitalism would become if only one could

reconcile the differences that they suppose. A paradise

realized through the perfect harmonization of production and

consumption.(31)

Free access to exhibitions was deemed essential for the development of a critical appreciation of the arts by members of the working classes. Although parliament had ensured that the National Gallery(32) was freely open to the general public, it was not until 1896 that galleries and museums were permitted to open on Sunday afternoons. This proved a great hindrance to working class attendance because Sunday was the working man's sole day off until the Saturday half holiday was instituted in 1847. Similarly, the South Kensington Museum, which opened in 1857, paid lip-service to welcoming all classes of people by extending the usual hours of operation to include two nights (7:00 to 10:00) weekly, an apparent accommodation of the leisure hours of the working classes. However, as most working people lived a considerable distance from the Kensington district, there was not sufficient time after work to eat a meal and travel (at the prohibitive price of up to sixpence per person) to the museum before closing time. "The extended hours were a further instance of a reform, ostensibly meant to benefit the working class, which in practice was mainly of service to their social superiors."(33)

A considerable opportunity to view the arts of industry and sculpture was eventually afforded the working people. The Great Exhibition of 1851, the brain-child of Prince Albert and Henry Cole, was mounted to celebrate Britain's manufacturing prowess and to display works of art for the purpose of moral elevation. By reducing the admission fee to one shilling on certain days of the week, the directors sought to encourage the working classes to enter the Crystal Palace and be uplifted by its wares. The decision to reduce the entrance fee was taken with some trepidation that the general public would not deport themselves properly. In order to ensure that the anticipated crowds were tractable, Scotland Yard doubled the police force at the Crystal Palace and set up crowd barriers to hold back the crush of bodies on the first shilling days. To the relief and delight of the Exhibition committee, the crowd was very respectful.

Henry Mayhew, the great chronicler of the state of the lower classes, ascribed to the Exhibition the power to rescue the country from its social woes because it gave a new dignity to the production of well-crafted manufactured goods.(34) However, the success of the Exhibition was based less on its ability to raise the status of the workman, who was regarded as a curiosity by those adventure-seeking upper-class folk who deigned to attend the one shilling days, than on its cultivation of a temporary sense of shared enterprise and love of country. Despite the fact that the wonderful objects on display were financially unattainable, the workers

enter[ed] into the realm of a shared national glory, a

language of abstract ideals that links the skill of labour and

the power of capital within an all-embracing unity and proper

order.(35)

Capitalist interests had triumphed over the same crowds who, only three years earlier, had threatened to upset the social hierarchy when the Chartist movement reached its climax. The government's employment of art as a means to attain social stability and maintain economic superiority was generally successful in the middle years of the nineteenth century.

II

As the Industrial Revolution gained momentum so did the wealthy bourgeoisie's interest in art. Manchester's industrialists began collecting art during the early decades of the nineteenth century, thereby laying the foundation for a growing community of artists and art dealers in the town. By 1823 the Royal Manchester Institution had been established to offer regular exhibitions of paintings.(36)

These wealthy members of the newly-emerging middle class became patrons and promoters of art for a number of reasons, among which were the desire for personal prestige, the establishment of civic pride, and the ostensible betterment of the working classes. For some, buying and exhibiting paintings provided a means of competing with the aristocracy who had hitherto largely maintained a monopoly on the acquisition and display of the arts. But, as John Seed has shown in his study of the emergence of the Manchester "art world,"(37) the middle class collectors mere not simply emulating the upper classes so much as claiming cultural territory of their own.

The urban bourgeoisie had tastes and interests different from those of the country-dwelling gentry. Instead of buying into the market of Old Master paintings, which had been inundated by forgeries, this new breed of collectors chose to purchase works of art by living English artists, who painted scenes of familiar landscapes which did not require great sophistication to understand. Dianne Sachko Macleod ascribes this departure from aristocratic taste to "the Reform Bill of 1832, which granted more recognition to the middle classes [and] gave them greater confidence in asserting their aesthetic preferences." However, the enacting of the Reform Bill was more a symptom of middle class ascendancy than a cause, and the bourgeois preference for contemporary English paintings over the art of the European past was expressive of a shift in the locus of power from a feudal form of society to a capitalist one. Although the trappings of political power continued to reside in the hands of the aristocracy and gentry throughout the nineteenth century, the middle classes were rapidly overtaking them in economic power and establishing a new elite based on capital, not privilege. As Marx and Engels observed in 1850, "... the only remaining aristocracy is the bourgeoisie."(39) A different attitude towards art patronage and promotion was afoot; the joy of owning works of art was enhanced, maybe even superseded, by the investment value they held.

Industrialists not only collected pieces of art for their own pleasure, they also put them at the disposal of the broader public, either by bequeathing them to the nation, as in the case of Robert Vernon,(40) or by exhibiting them in galleries annexed to mills or Mechanics? Institutes.(41) Public benefaction had many desirable effects, perhaps the least of which was the overtly championed moral elevation of the working classes. Factory owners could enjoy the sense of public prestige which accrued to patrons of the arts while projecting a caring image to their operatives. A speech at the opening of a public library, by Sir John Potter, mayor of Manchester, underlines the industrialists' desire to quell class antagonism:

Let it never be said hereafter that the masters, the employers,

the richer classes of Manchester, have no interest in the

improvement and advancement of those they employ ... Let

it not be said that they seek merely their own advantage: that

they are content with making money for themselves.(42) The unmistakable aims of these men were the pacification of the workers and the enhancement of their own public profiles.

The new oligarchy could see the urgent need to build a new

institutional framework within [Manchester], which would

begin to incorporate an uneducated, disorderly and politically

volatile populace ... [this included] a new stress on the need

to "diffuse" the benefits of high culture, including art, to the

labouring poor." Art was employed as a surrogate for comfortable living conditions and pleasant work places.

Picture galleries should be the workman's paradise, and

garden of pleasure to which he goes to refresh his eyes and

heart with beautiful shapes and sweet colouring, when they

are wearied with dull bricks and mortar, and the ugly

colourless things which fill the workshop and the factory.(44)

Art promotion by the industrial and commercial magnates reached a crescendo in 1857 with the mounting of the successful Art Treasures Exhibition in Manchester. Following the lead of the Great Exhibition, the organizers facilitated the attendance of a broad spectrum of society by offering shilling admission prices on select days. Many manufacturers who were anxious to have their workers participate in this great cultural event gave them time off to attend and ensured that special trains were available to transport them to the exhibition site. Exposure to the beautiful objects loaned to the Exhibition by private collectors was expected to humanize and entertain the workers while fitting them to produce better goods for the market. Truly, this was a nineteenth-century version of the Roman "bread and circuses" program for controlling the populace, with the added inducement of self-improvement.

The industrialists' motivation behind the promotion of the fine arts bears some striking similarities to the government's agenda, but there are areas of marked difference as well. The bourgeoisie, sandwiched as it was between two classes which could curb or facilitate its economic advancement, made every possible use of the potent symbols of high culture to insinuate itself into the aristocratic domain of political power while maintaining firm control over the improvement of its social inferiors. As Seed has shown, the propagation of an art community by Mancunian businessmen was a calculated attempt to erase the negative public image which arose from the grimy industrial landscape and the memory of Peterloo, and replace it with a reputation for cultural pursuits.

If Manchester was to achieve parliamentary representation,

if its business interests were to receive a respected hearing

from central government, then the town needed to proclaim

its status as a centre not just of industry and wealth but also

of men of culture and refinement worthy of entry to the

genteel circles of state power.(45)

On the other hand, the workers' agitation for social and economic betterment had to be contained. Factory operatives were offered carefully controlled access to the world of culture via such middle-class sponsored organizations as the Mechanics' Institutes and the Art Treasures Exhibition; contact with the visual arts was tailored to provide workers with practical skills which would keep them in their place to serve their masters better.

III

Taking up the Select Committee recommendation that kunstvereine be established to imbue the populace with taste, Edward Edwards, Henry Hayward, and George Godwin founded the Art Union of London in 1836. These gentlemen, who were utilitarian advocates of self help, instituted a curious hybrid of a gentleman's club and an art-dealership with the expressed purposes of ... rendering assistance to artists in following their professions [and] ... placing good works in the hands of persons who would not otherwise be likely to possess them."(46) Like its unrelated counterparts in other cities, the London Art Union was a subscription society in which each membership, at the cost of one guinea annually, entered the subscriber in a lottery for cash vouchers to be used toward the purchase of a piece of art selected from one of the esteemed art exhibitions in London. Comprised mainly of gentlemen with either a love of art, an interest in social reform, or a blend of both, the Art Union of London's original council was presided over by the Duke of Cambridge.(47) Radical M.Ps Wyse, Ewart, and Hume, all men of wealth, cultured experience and first-class education,(48) were joined by Lords Lansdowne and Brougham, Baron Monteagle, and the Marquis of Northampton to form an interesting amalgam of middle and upper class elites bent on reforming their social inferiors. Although they represented different levels of the social scale, it is not unrealistic to assume that they had in common a desire to maintain their own status through manipulation of the "masses" at whom the Art Union was aimed.(49) Minihan's term "enlightened paternalism" aptly describes the actions of many Radical politicians.

Of the founding figures, only Edwards arose from humble origins, and he was forced to resign his post as first Honourary Secretary early on due to questionable handling of the organization's fund:. Godwin took over responsibility for conducting the business of the Art Union and continued in this role for over half its history. A zealous proponent of self-help, he seized upon the Art Union as a vehicle admirably suited to the moral improvement of the multitudes beneath his own social position. Although L. S. King characterizes him as an exemplar of the "middling" man,(50) his pedigree as a silver medallist of the Institute of British Architects, appointee to the Royal Commission on Housing for the Working Classes, lifetime resident of South Kensington, and Fellow of the Royal Society argue in favour of placing him among the elite of the middle class.

Government sympathy for the art union scheme ran high. When, in 1844, a delegation of irate print-sellers and art-dealers petitioned parliament to outlaw art unions under the Lottery Acts, Wyse and Lord Lansdowne moved the administration to commission a Select Committee on Art Unions which resulted in the passing of the Art Union Act of 1846. Parliament's reasons for enacting this exemption from lottery laws were purely pragmatic:

For at that time, there was not a ready sale for pictures of

a high and expensive class. With a show of reason therefore,

Art Unions were encouraged, in order to create a market for

the sale of high class pictures.(51)

The Art Union of London targeted the "masses".' as its market, but in reality its audience comprised those members of the middle classes who could afford to keep at least one servant. L. S. King's thorough research of the Art Union's clientele convincingly shows that neither the uppermost classes nor the lower-middle and working classes participated in this lottery.(52)

The benefits of Art Union membership extended beyond a mere chance to win a prize. All subscribers were welcome to attend the annual meeting at which the prizes mere drawn. This was an elaborate affair held at a posh venue, often the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane, presided over by the Duke of Cambridge or another aristocratic member of the council, and attended by "many of the nobility and patrons of Art."(53) Winning tickets were drawn, amid much fanfare, by attractive ladies recruited from the audience. Once the prizeholders had made their selections an annual exhibition of the chosen works was mounted at a fashionable gallery. Members and guests were invited to attend exclusive showings for the first several days after which the exhibition was opened, free of charge, to the general public. Each of these events was calculated to give members a sense of social elevation through association with members of the upper classes and the refined practice of art patronage. Moreover, subscribers to the Art Union were encouraged to see themselves as philanthropists helping to uplift the working classes. Godwin's annual report for the auspicious year of 1848 proclaims that

opening works of mind to the contemplation of the people

will be found a powerful means of lessening such moral and

inteflectual differences as there may be between the upper

and lower orders, not by injuring one, but by improving the

other. An acquaintance with works of art gives dignity and

self-esteem to the operative, a matter of no slight value as

regards the stability of society ... and furnishes him with a

delight, independent of position, calculated to purify and

exalt.(54)

Class containment of social inferiors effected by moral improvement of them was commended here to the middle classes. This same strategy was rather subtly applied to the middle classes by the elites who operated the Art Union.

Commencing in 1838, the Art Union council launched a scheme to distribute an engraved print to each subscriber as an additional benefit of membership.(55) This venture resulted in the extensive popularization of Maclise's The Meeting of Wellington and Blucher after the Baule of Waterloo, of which twenty thousand prints mere disseminated, and Frith's Ramsgate Sands, a painting which swelled subscriptions by an additional 4,000 [pounds] in 1859. It was as a result of the cheap distribution of such a large number of engraved prints that the print-sellers and art-dealers protested the legality of the Art Union in 1844; their markets were, quite simply, being ruinously undercut by the actions of this consortium which posed as a club but so often acted like a dealer.

Ever aware of its responsibility to educate the middle classes in the refined appreciation of art and to develop all aspects of the fine art industry in Britain, a sub-committee of the Art Union determined, in 1842, that sculpture should be given more attention. To this end, it was

recommended that reduced models be made of some

celebrated group or piece of sculpture to a size fitted for a

drawing-room table ... a very efficient instrument in

diffusing a taste and love for art in many a family circle."(56)

Beginning in 1842, bronze statuettes were commissioned to serve as prizes in the annual lotteries of the Art Union. In order to facilitate production of these objects, specialist foundries in fine art casting, then a fledgling industry, emerged.

Following on the considerable success of the bronze statuettes the Art Union turned to less-expensive means of promoting sculpture. Reduced models were produced in parian ware, a fine malleable porcelain which had the appearance of marble and faithfully rendered sculptural detail. Developed in the 1840s by Copeland and Garrett of Stoke-on-Trent, this new statuary porcelain received little notice in the marketplace until the Art Union commissioned these figures. "This is [another] case in which the Art Union made an impact on industry by popularizing a commodity which had previously had no commercial success."(57)

From its inception until the 1860s the Art Union of London enjoyed remarkable success; subscriptions rose precipitously from 489 [pounds] in the first year of operation to 17,871 [pounds] by 1847. After the 1860s it went into a general decline and quietly died out at the turn of the century. During its heyday it appears to have accomplished the objective of supporting British artists. A. King notes that the impact of the art union on patronage of the arts was measurable. "In 1837, 205 [pounds] had been spent on paintings at the Royal Academy. Seven years later, this had risen to over 3,000 [pounds]. Other galleries should similar increases."(58) Whether the more ephemeral aim of developing an artistic sensibility in the populace was attained is difficult to determine. Comments in the Art Union Journal (a publication unrelated to the lottery society) and statistics on the number and type of paintings selected as prizes suggest the stubborn emergence of a middle-class taste.(59) Thackeray's satiric comment on the Art Union attacks both elite attempts to inculcate taste and middle-class inabilities to exhibit it.(60)

As I have suggested, the Art Union of London combined the two rather disparate functions of art dealership and gentleman's club. At the level of the directors or councillors, the Union acted as an art dealership which served several constituencies. One of these was the membership for whom it provided access to desirable objects of fine art by means of the thrift of a lottery. Secondly, it served the painters of the English school by creating a demand for art in a relatively untapped market, thereby driving up the price of paintings and promoting a British art industry. In addition, industries which supported the mass production of art were developed by the Art Union's aggressive marketing activities. The dissemination of subscription prints, a project which could not have been mounted without the innovation of electroplate printing (which permitted the accurate reproduction of vast numbers of prints), and the commissioning of statuettes in bronze and parian ware promoted the British print-making, bronze casting and pottery industries.

At the level of the membership, the Art Union acted as a club for gentlemen which offered individuals a sense of prestige by associating their names, however distantly, with that of the Duke of Cambridge and with the practice of fine art patronage. This appeal to the vanity of the monied, but socially self-conscious, middle classes was apparently effective, if not ingenious. It was precisely upon the nouveau riche and moderately well-to-do middle class that the Art Union focused its attention.

The newly-formed Arundel Society, with its 1,500 members

(and not, incidentally, patronising British artists), addressed

itself to "the educated and accomplished class"; the Schools

of Art and Design were for the professional, specialist class,

but the Art Union of London was established "for the

purpose of diffusing a certain degree of knowledge and

creating a feeling for art among the masses; that is, the

middle class."(61)

Class boundaries were clearly set. On the one hand, the middle and upperclass elites had little interest in contemporary British art, and on the other, the one guinea subscription fee effectively prevented the working classes from participating in the lottery.(62) The Art Union was carefully managed by the members' social betters who engineered middle-class support of British art production and allied industries. Prize-winners were constrained to select works of art from approved British art exhibitions, which undoubtedly would have shown only the production of local talent. Further control over the outcome of the lottery and its impact on British industry was exerted by means of advice:

the prize-winners ... were constantly exhorted to make a

wise and considered choice "in the manner best calculated

to further the interests of British Art."(63)

That prize-winners were afforded the opportunity to choose their own prizes, albeit from a clearly delimited pool of possible choices, was an astute decision on the part of the Art Union of London. Even in the face of strong parliamentary opposition to this freedom of choice, the London Art Union stood firm and refused to yield to the practice, maintained by a minority of art unions, of pre-selecting the prizes.(64) The directors of the London Art Union wisely realized that a limited choice was likely to foster more co-operation, even loyalty, than a dictated outcome. If middle-class political aspirations could be turned aside by means of preoccupying wealthy capitalists with consumerism in the guise of public and private art patronage, social harmony and stability of the class structure could be maintained. Thus, art consumption, either through winning the lottery or by receiving a subscriber's print or bronze statuette, was offered as a substitute for democracy. To paraphrase a statement made by John Berger about the effects of advertising in modern Britain,

the choice of [prizes or even membership] takes the place of

significant political choice. [Patronage of art] helps to mask

and compensate for all that is undemocratic within society.(65)

The Art Union of London was a liberal-inspired vehicle for co-opting and containing the aspirations of the well-off middle classes at a time when they were exhibiting an alarming interest in the exercise of political power. Although the organizers appeared to offer subscribers the opportunity to participate in the genteel world of art patronage, the type of art the members mere encouraged to patronize was selected to ensure the sanctity of upper-class cultural hegemony. Contrary to Martin Wiener's assertions, the aristocracy did not wish to absorb the wealthy middle classes, rather they sought to maintain the existing social distances by providing the middle classes with reasons to be satisfied with their own station in society.(66) No real threat to the elite classes existed if the middle-classes were content with an uplifting but slightly inferior brand of culture, especially if they could be given the impression that they were somehow the cultural equals of the social power-brokers.

Not surprisingly, the goals of the Art Union of London accorded completely with those of the Select Committees me have examined. Many of the men responsible for the operation of the Art Union were veterans of the select committees and commissions on the arts.(67) Both the government commissioners and the Art Union councillors desired to establish a serious domestic art industry to counter the long-standing inferiority complex Britain had harboured in relation to the cultural production of France. By encouraging the monied middle classes to patronize contemporary British art, the social elites could accomplish two goals simultaneously: the middle-class wish for social acceptance would be fulfilled at no cost to upper-class pre-eminence and the art industry would have the capital necessary to produce a new national heritage. The minutes of the Art Union Council are unambiguous on this point: "By assisting works of fine art ... all may rest assured that they are forwarding the best interests of humanity and entitling themselves eminently to the applause of the high-minded."(68)

IV

Beginning in the 1830s Britain went through a period of class consciousness and consolidation unlike any other in its history. The working classes had begun to develop a sense of their collective strength as a result of the Chartist movement. The middle classes had begun to realize that their economic power could open the doors to political power. And, the aristocracy came to understand that their position at the top of society was no longer invulnerable. In order to cope with these new social and political realities both the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie attempted to control their respective inferiors by offering them social, educational, and cultural advancement within certain limits. Such a program of social control was very potent because it eased the whole society upward without fracturing the infrastructure. British society thus remained stable long enough for a gradual shift, from the old feudal relations to the new relations of capitalism, to take place.

That fine art, so long the mistress of the rich and powerful, was used as a means of facilitating a massive social transformation is not surprising. It had been employed as a vehicle for religious and political propaganda for centuries. However, in the pragmatic Britain of Victoria's reign not only the content of art, but also its practice was appropriated to gain political ends.

The social elites and the middle classes each promoted art to their social inferiors under the guise of enlightened benevolence. Whether serving as commissioners for the government or as Art Union councillors, liberal members of the aristocracy and middle-class elite invoked patriotism and prosperity as the reasons behind their enthusiastic endorsement of "art for the people" (specifically the middle classes). By inducing wealthy industrialists and professional men to buy British art and become involved in the refined enterprise of art-collecting, the upper classes ensured their own cultural hegemony and the supremacy of Britain in cultural and manufacturing production.

Art appreciation and instruction were held out to the working classes as means to acquire moral respectability and social and economic, improvement, the latter two qualities being highly coveted. Government Schools of Design were established to enhance the quality of fancy goods and production machinery alike, yet real social advancement was thwarted by the requirement that artisans foreswear entry into the profession of painting and concentrate their abilities in the manufacturing realm. The workers, like their products, were expected to be "not good enough to be first rate ... but sufficiently good for their purpose."(69)

The rising middle classes, particularly the wealthy industrialists, cultivated an interest in the arts as a means of gaining cultural credibility in the eyes of the parliamentarians who could grant them a political voice. As John Seed noted in the case of Manchester, the promotion of the arts by industrialists was undertaken as one of the means to convince the government that Mancunians sure "gentlemen" and therefore deserving of parliamentary representation.

On another front, art promotion was used as a mechanism for recruiting the working classes to serve manufacturers' production and marketing objectives and as a prophylaxis against social unrest. Industrialists exploited their art collections to garner prestige and to promote an image of beneficence by opening public galleries and museums in towns that had hitherto possessed none. Workers were encouraged to identify with their benefactors through participation in the "rational recreation" of gazing at beautiful paintings of English rural landscapes, which presumably instilled a love of country and a sense of shared enterprise in making Britain the envy of the nations.

All rhetoric and action to the contrary, the promotion of art production and appreciation during the middle three decades of the nineteenth century was designed to discourage any real upward social mobility in Britain. Although it is difficult to determine how direct was the influence of this mobilization of the fine arts in the aid of politics, it is notable that a period of comparative social calm coexisted with the hosting of the Great Exhibition in 1851 and the Art Treasures Exhibition in 1857. The middle and upper classes had scored, by various means, a victory for social stability. (1) I gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Professor K.A.P. Sandiford and the two assessors for this journal who suggested improvements to earlier versions of this essay. (2) Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 3rd. series, 14 (23 July 1832): 645 as quoted in Janet Minihan, The Nationalization of Culture: The Development of State Subsidies to the Arts in Great Britain (London, 1977), p. 56. (3) For the purposes of this paper, the terms "fine art" and "arts" will refer to the visual arts exclusively. (4) Dealers gradually emerged to fill the role hitherto occupied by the Connoisseurs during the eighteenth century. Although their activities were initially confined to trade in Old Master paintings and imported art, they overcame the antipathy of British artists towards "middlemen" and by mid-century were an accepted, if not always respected, component in art transactions. See "The Present State of Commerce in Art," The Art Journal, 6 n.s. (1854): 312. (5) John Seed, "Commerce and the Liberal Arts: the Political Economy of Art in Manchester, 1775-1860," Janet Wolff and John Seed, eds., The Culture of Capital. Art, Power and the Nineteenth-century Middle Class (Manchester, 1988). Adrian Rifkin, "Success Disavowed: The Schools of Design in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Britain. (An Allegory)," Journal of Design History, 1/2 (1988): 89-102. (6) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, text of the English edition of 1888 edited by Engels, pp. 467-500, p. 476. In Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd edition (New York, 1978). (7) The Nazarene painters in Germany are a probable source of this strain of Victorian aesthetics. See Quentin Bell, Victorian Artists (London, 1967), pp. 15-18. Although this moral aesthetic dominated, competing aesthetic interests coexisted within the same sector of society. Paintings by Etty, though condemned by some for their blatant sensuality, nevertheless were given exhibition space and sold. (8) Richard D. Altick, Victorian People and Ideas (New York, 1973), p. 272. (9) Select Committee on Arts and Manufactures 1835-36, as quoted in Anthony King, "George Godwin and the Art Union of London 1837-1911," Victorian Studies 8/2 (1965):101. (10) Report from the Select Committee on Arts and Manufactures 1835-36; together with the Minutes of Evidence, Appendices and Index, House of Commons, 16 August 1836, p. 4, q. 76. Also available in facsimile edition: British Parliamentary Papers (Shannon, 1971). (11) Ibid., pp. 4, 5, q. 79. (12) Ibid., p. 5, q. 80. (13) In addition to the Central School of Design in London, under which all other schools were constituted, twelve provincial schools were eventually established. See Stuart Mardonald, The History and Philosophy of Art Education (London, 1970), Appendix A, p. 383. (14) John Steegman, Victorian Taste. A Study of the Arts and Architecture from 1&30 to 1870, (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1971) reissue of Consort of Taste, (London, 1950), p. 131. Ewart, Hawes and Wyse were Radicals who promoted national education. (15) That fresco was not a practical art to pursue in Britain became painfully obvious. Inexperience with the medium necessitated frequent removal and replastering of the mural surface. But the ultimate disaster was wrought by the English climate. "... within a few years the frescoed pictures darkened, sweated, bubbled, blackened and decayed." Quentin Bell, Victorian Artists, p. 26. (16) Reports from the Select Committees and Commissioners on the Promotion of the Fine Arts 1841; together with the Minutes of Evidence, Appendices and Index, House of Commons, 1841, p. 12. (17) Ibid., p. 14. (18) Ibid., pp. 16, 17. (19) The Anti-Corn Law League was a large, highly organized lobby mounted on behalf of middle-class interests. The repeal of the Corn Law in 1846 attests to the efficacy of this predominantly middle-class movement. (20) Report from the Select Committee on the Schools of Design 1849; together with the Minutes of Evidence, Appendix and Index, House of Commons, 1849, Cole q. 3296. (21) Select Committee 1&35-36, Papworth, q. 1286. (22) B.R. Haydon, Autobiography, Tom Taylor and Peter Davies, eds., London, third edition, 1926 (vol. 2, n.p.), as quoted in Stuart Macdonald, The History and Philosophy of Art Education, p. 70. Emphases and abbreviation are the author's. Haydon championed the establishment of schools patterned after that at Lyons where artists and artisans alike received classical fine art training and could choose a career commensurate with their talent, not their social status. (23) Geraldine Pelles, Art, Artists and Society: Origins of a Modern Dilemma (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1963), p. 41. (24) Practicality definitely entered into the decision to offer life classes, but, as Bell suggests, it was likely not the only consideration. Haydon's establishment of a rival school which made access to the human figure a central feature undoubtedly provided an additional impetus to Dyce's recommendations. Quentin Bell, The Schools of Design (London, 1963), p. 86. (25) Report from the Select Committee on the Schools of Design 1849, Dyce q. 769. (26) Select Committee 1835-36, pp. iii and viii. It is undoubtedly true that designers had decent financial prospects, perhaps better than many of their counterparts in the fine arts. However, it is difficult to take seriously the government's scruples about flooding the employment market with unwanted painters, in view of the testimony extracted by Ewart from decorator James Crabb. Might not one means of increasing [taste among the people] be the diffusion of elementary education in arts and designs, so that you might employ men at a cheaper rate ... capable of executing works of this description [copies of classical ornamentation]? - Decidedly. Select Committee 183S-36, Crabb q. 1034. One of the motivations behind the establishment of the Schools of Design was to drive down the labour costs of design production by increasing the supply of skilled designers thereby encouraging competition. (27) Quentin Bell, The Schools of Design, p. 95. (28) Macdonald, The History and Philosophy of Art Education, p. 77. (29) W. C. Taylor, "On the Cultivation of Taste in the Operative Classes," The Art Journal, 11 (1849): 3. (30) Ibid., p. 4. (31) Rifkin, "Success Disavowed," p. 89. (32) The National Gallery was opened to the public in 1824. (33) Richard D. Altick, The Shows of London (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1978), p. 500. (34) Henry Mayhew, 1851; or the Adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys, cited in Christopher Harvie, Graham Martin, and Aaron Scharf, eds., Industrialization and Culture 1&30-1914 (London, 1970), p. 249. (35) Rifkin, "Success Disavowed," p. 100. (36) From the outset, this institution was devised to serve the interests of the economic elites. However, it bowed to the pressures of the more liberal elements of Manchester society and opened its annual exhibition to the general public on Saturday evenings in 1845 for sixpence. A further concession of a twopence admission price for the duration of the last four weeks of the exhibition was made in 1849. It is significant that the huge show of force by the Chartists had taken place the previous year. (37) Seed, "Commerce and the Liberal Arts," pp. 68 ff. (38) Dianne Sachko Macleod, "Art Collecting and Victorian Middle Class Taste," Art History, 10/3 (1987): 328. (39) Quoted in Martin J. Wiener, English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit 1850-1980 (Cambridge, 1981), p. 12. (40) Vernon was a middle-class Londoner who acquired his wealth by providing horses to the military during the war with France. (41) Peter Bailey, Leisure and Class in Victorian England: Rational Recreation and the Contest for Control, 1830-1885 (New York, London, 1987), p. 55. Bailey names a number of manufacturers who built and furnished mill annexes with museums and other educational and recreational facilities. (42) Quoted in Bailey, Leisure and Class, p. 56. (43) Seed, "Commerce and the Liberal Arts," p. 69. (44) Charles Kingsley, in Politics for the People, 6 May 1848, quoted in Altick, The Shows of London, p. 415. (45) Seed, "Commerce and the Liberal Arts," p. 67. (46) Report from the Select Committee into the Operation of Art Union Laws 1864; together with the Minutes of Evidence, Appendices and Index, House of Commons, 1864, p. 578. (47) The position of President was purely ceremonial. It was the Honourable Secretary who actually directed the organization. (48) See Minihan, The Nationalization of Culture, p. 66, W. A. Munford, William Ewart, M.P., 1798-1869. Portrait of a Radical London, 1960), and Valerie Chancellor, The Political Life of Joseph Hume, 1777-1855 (London, 1986), for descriptions of their educations, fortunes, and support of educational reform. Although the Radical councillors would be considered upper-middle class gentlemen, I distinguish them from the wealthy industrialists. Their privileged education and experience (each made a "grand tour" of the European art scene) place them in an elite position in their class. (49) George Eliot's description of one character's motivations in adopting a Radical position provides a helpful warning against equating radicalism with altruism: in these hopeless times, nothing was left to men of sense and good family but to retard the national ruin by declaring themselves Radicals, and take the inevitable process of changing everything out of the hands of beggarly demagogues and purse-proud tradesmen. George Eliot, Felix Holt: The Radical, Everyman's Library edition (London, 1967) [1866], p. 30. For a Marxian critique of Hume and like-minded Radicals see Chancellor, The Political Life of Joseph Hume, pp. 152-53. (50) Lyndel Saunders King, The Industrialisation of Taste: Victorian England and the Art Union of London (Ann Arbor, 1985), p. 47. (51) Select Committee 1864, p. 577. (52) L. S. King, The Industrialization of Taste, pp. 41-45. (53) "The Art Union of London," The Art Union Journal, 3 (1841): 65. (54) Art Union of London Annual Report, 1848, p. 10, quoted in L. S. King, The Industrialization of Taste, p. 134. The word "improvement," as used by the Victorians, has a moral connotation and is not to be confused with advancement, which connotes social mobility. (55) Annual Report of the Council of the Art Union of London. As quoted in Elizabeth Aslin, "The Rise and Progress of the Art Union of London," Apollo 85 (1967): 13. (56) Ibid., p. 15. (57) Ibid. (58) A. King, "George Godwin and the Art Union of London 1837-1911," p. 116. (59) "The Art Union of London," The Art Union Journal, 2 (1840): 130 and L. S. King, The Industrialization of Taste, p. 146. (60) W.M. Thackeray, "May Gambols; or, Titmarsh in the Picture-Galleries," Fraser's Magazine, 29/174 (1844): 701, 702. (61) A. King, "George Godwin and the Art Union of London 1837-1911," pp. 126-27. (62) See MacLeod, "Art Collecting," p. 329 for a discussion of the class distinctions in artistic taste during the Victoria era. (63) Aslin, "Rise and Progress of the Art Union of London," p. 13. See also A. King, "George Godwin and the Art Union of London 1837-1911," p. 113. (64) Select Committee 1845 "recommended that the committees of the art unions, rather than the prize-winners themselves, should choose the prizes, as, in fact, was the practice of most unions other than the London Society." A. King, p. 118. (65) John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London, 1972), p. 149. (66) Wiener, English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit 1850-1980. Wiener maintains that the aristocracy came to terms with the rising power of the bourgeoisie by training the sons of these capitalists, through a school system which still promoted the ideal of the gentleman who does not have to earn his living, to adopt aristocratic manners and values. The children of businessmen were admitted to full membership in the upper class, at the price of discarding the distinctive, production-oriented culture shaped during the century of relative isolation." (p. 13). By such means, the aristocracy are deemed to have absorbed the bourgeoisic, which in turn, presumably accommodated itself to upper class values. Wiener's argument presents us with two difficulties. First, although the aristocracy appear to have fostered culturat refinements in the middle classes, these were not intended to produce social parity between members of the two classes. The logical, and ludicrous, end to such an argument would be that the upper class' interest in uplifting the working classes was also an absorptionist tactic. Second, the bourgeoisie portrayed by Wiener is remarkably passive, abandoning the work ethic which established capitalism, in a single generation. This view does not accord with numerous examples of middle-class activism of the period (the women's suffrage movement is a useful case in point). See Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby, Bradenham edition, 1844, pp. 414-15 (as quoted in Munford, William Ewart, M.P., 1798-1869, p. 22), for an example of middle-class resistance to absorption. (67) Ewart, Hawes, Hope, Ridley Colbourne and Benjamin Hall joined with the initiators of the Art Union of London at their second meeting. (68) "London Art Union Minutes of Committee," 4 vols. MS, British Museum, II, p. 62. As quoted in A. King, "George Godwin and the Art Union of London 1837-1911," p. 107. (69) Select Committee 1841, pp. 16, 17.
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Title Annotation:winning entry in the 1992 Canadian Journal of History graduate essay competition
Author:Hurtado, Shannon Hunter
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Date:Apr 1, 1993
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