Abstract

Ordinarily marginalized for their commercially-driven subject-matter and artisanal practices, British marine painters were presented with a new opportunity in the 1760s: a public competition encouraging them to produce aesthetically-refined "works of art" commensurate with Britain's new identity as maritime and cultural world power. Through a close analysis of the first prize-winning painting (Richard Wright's The Fishery), its problematic subject-matter (the Society of Arts' "Land-Carriage Fish Scheme"), and the competition's scandalous disintegration, this article describes the anxieties, failures, and conflicts generated by such attempts to forge a culture of refinement within a society increasingly set against itself by commercialism and competitiveness.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 405-421
Launched on MUSE
2008-03-19
Open Access
No
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