It's somehow more honest and affirmative to admit the messy realities and dialogues of life into what on the surface appears to be a unitary product of the authorial voice. Like galleries themselves, text emerges through the filters and noises of history, both prosaic and grand. It carries the weight of years of transition - personal, intellectual, political and accidental – and derives from influences far too convoluted and shapeless to recover properly in a page. So I must flatten it.
I am indebted to John Orr, John Holmwood and Stana Nenadic, each in their varying ways sources of professional and personal motivation, for their input as supervisors for the doctoral thesis that this book is based upon. Grateful thanks also go to Bridget Fowler and Gordon Fyfe for comments on the project in their capacities as external examiners, to Rudy Koshar as general editor, to Kathryn Earle and Ian Critchley at Berg Publishers and to Fintan Power for his meticulous reading of the manuscript. With respect to access to primary materials thanks go to the librarians and staff at the Royal Scottish Academy, the National Gallery of Scotland, the Scottish Records Office and National Library of Scotland. Were it not for the patience and expertise of this group of people I would probably still be floundering in archives. I am grateful, also, to the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh for the generous allocation of a faculty initiatives fund to help with the illustrations and copyright permissions. Copyright holders of the illustrations are acknowledged below the images themselves.
On a less formal, but no less important, level I need to identify and credit a cluster of people who in disparate ways formed the kind of support system evaluated in Becker's Art Worlds: colleagues at both Derby and Edinburgh, for providing those innumerable moments of ‘life’ born of humour, intellect and other substances; Chris and Mads, for courage; my brother, whose talent and humility was the reason I took up this sociology lark; Sarah, for her enduring encouragement, love and toleration in guiding me through tough times; and, finally, my mum and dad, without whom none of this. Thank you to the entire lot, for the entire lot (although all errors are solely mine).
Some of what is now Chapter 2 appeared as ‘Museums: Leisure Between State and Distinction’, in Histories of Leisure, Rudy Koshar (ed.), Berg: Oxford, 2002. A revised version of Chapter 5 appeared as ‘A Different Field of Vision: Gentlemen and Players in Edinburgh, 1826–1851’, in Reading Bourdieu on Society and