William MB Berger Prize for British Art History 2008

British Art Journal, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

William MB Berger Prize for British Art History 2008


WINNER (books published I September 2007-31 August 2008)

Thomas P Campbell

Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty. Tapestries at the Tudor Court

440pp, hb 45 [pounds sterling], ISBN 9780300122343

Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

The assessors remarked:

'This was.., almost a perfect book containing an incredible amount of research of all kinds, not only archival but on every, piece of tapestry. A wonderful and great work of detection and reconstruction, when something like 90% of the material in question had been lost, and yet it still came up with a convincing analysis. The book is of great importance to historians and political scientists as well as to art historians ... It has repositioned tapestry, where it always belonged, at the centre of courtly patronage. The book ranged across major questions about the reign of Henry VIII and his view of monarchy with immense tact and skill.'

SHORT LIST

Robert Hoozee, ed

British Vision: Observation and Imagination in British Art 1750-1950,

424 pp, hb 39 [pounds sterling], ISBN 978-9061537489 Mercatorfonds / Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent

'For once, here was a catalogue which matched in physical weight its ideas and originality. Robert Hoozee has been thinking about British art for many years, and here are the fruits of his considerable and profound experience. Remarkably. for an exhibition held in Belgium, this exhibition has done as much for British art ms any show in Britain over the past decade. Hoozee mined (at times obscure) collections throughout the UK to reveal a unique strand in British art which, as the title of the book states, combines observation and imagination. It ought to become an essential text for anyone wishing to understand British art and visual culture over the past two hundred }'ears.' The assessors wanted to stress the splendour of the very large exhibition, held in Ghent, which featured telling and often startling conjunctions, and ranged right through, convincingly, to the late twentieth century.

Nicholas Tromans

David Wilkie: The People's Painter

320pp, hb 65 [pounds sterling], ISBN 978-0748625208. Edinburgh University Press

... A most intelligent and persuasive account of the artist. As the author states, it is a biographical study which aspires to be a social study of the artist's career. It achieves both aims admirably. The prose is clear, at times amusing, and the book is extremely well written, a good read--a rare thing these days among academic texts. The biography is intriguing and the monographic aspect of the book brought most of Wilkie's works together for the first time. A major achievement for which both the author and publisher deserve congratulations and gratitude.'

Jason Rosenfeld and Alison Smith

Millais

272 pp, hb 35 [pounds sterling], ISBN 978 185437 746 3. Tate Publishing

'The catalogue, like the exhibition, brings together a remarkable selection of images that poses important questions about British art of the period and the course it took in the hands of such an outstanding painter, who was evidently aware of contemporary European developments but yet trapped within a distinct aesthetic and cultural world. Confronted some basic problems about British art. It absolutely forces people to take Millais far more seriously, even if, finally, the enigma remains. It was an especially rewarding exhibition and the catalogue will endure.'

Elizabeth Prettejohn

Art for Art's Sake.

Aestheticism in Victorian Painting

320 pp, hb 35 [pounds sterling], ISBN 978-0300135497.

University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

'... addressed the important question of British modernism by taking the starting point back in time. Ambitious and original, full of sharp insights and fresh material. …

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William MB Berger Prize for British Art History 2008
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