Prospects, Thresholds and Interiors
Cambridge University Press, 26/01/1994
EAN 9780521444880, ISBN10: 0521444888
Hardcover, 270 pages, 27.9 x 22.1 x 2 cm
This catalogue accompanies an exhibition of watercolours from The National Collection of Watercolours at the Victoria and Albert Museum. In a study of paintings spanning some two hundred years, Lewis Johnson explores the familiar and the unfamiliar in one of the most apparently tradition-governed practices of painting. Taking as his starting point the formation of the Collection in the mid-nineteenth century, he examines contemporary claims for watercolour as a modern art, and shows how certain notions of the modern were interlinked with nationalist and imperialist culture in Britain. His analysis of traditional criticism's dependence on these ideas, and of its limitations in the face of the complexity of historical, social, political and philosophical questions raised by the paintings, makes this study a bold and timely contribution to the reappraisal of the history and theory of art in Britain.