‘Edwardian Britain has often been described as a golden sunlit afternoon… in fact, modern Britain was born during the reign of Edward VII, when politics, science, literature and the arts were turned upside down’ (Roy Hattersley, 2004)
Scratching The Veneer is a site-specific group exhibition located in the unique venue of the Grade I listed Edwardian Ladies cloakroom. This eclectic exhibition integrates political, social, cultural and historical narratives to expose the darker elements of Edwardian society and evoke connections with society today. The featured artists form a dialogue with the space using themes identified by the curator such as Edwardian class distinction, social hierarchy, sexual relations, sanitation and toxic beauty.
The exhibition runs from 17 November 2016, at The Edwardian Cloakroom – Ladies Side, Clifton, Bristol.
Exhibitors: Poppy Clover, Fiona Costelloe, Rose Chittenden, Heather Griffin, Sam Morgan, Ellie Shipley, Phil Toy, Toby Rainbird-Webb
Curated by Fiona Costelloe.
See here for more information.
Stanislawa de Karlowska, Barrage Balloons, c.1914
‘Terribly quiet; that is in two words the spirit of this age, as I have felt it from my cradle. I sometimes wondered how many other people felt the oppression of this union between quietude and terror. I see blank well-ordered streets, and men in black moving about inoffensively, sullenly. It goes on day after day, day after day, and nothing happens; but to me it is like a dream from which I might awake screaming. To me the straightness of our life is the straightness of a thin cord stretched tight. Its stillness is terrible. It might snap with a noise like thunder’ (G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, 1904)
‘The Crystal Gazers’ by Henry Tonks, c.1905
As we enter a new academic year, it is worth reminding readers of the scope and ambitions of the Edwardian Culture Network. The main aim of this site is to keep scholars informed as to Edwardian-related conferences, exhibitions and publications; to draw attention the work of current researchers in the field; and to the list the multiple resources available for those studying the period 1895-1914, both online and off. We have our own timeline, and have recently started publishing ‘Edwardian Encounters’, a series of short essays. Reviews of new publications are also ongoing. Although the network started in the UK, as a partnership between the Universities of York and Durham, two of our founders are now based in Yale, making us a truly transatlantic network!
As well as linking to other people’s events, we also host our own annual conference, the second of which will be held on April 10-11th 2014 in Liverpool. If you are interested in presenting a paper, please see here. More information on this event will follow over the coming months.
If you would like to get involved in the network, please join our researcher’s list by e-mailing us at email@example.com. If you are interested in writing a review, short essay or blog post, or have information about an upcoming event, we would love to hear from you! Should you be so inclined, you can also ‘like’ us on facebook.
Angus Trumble and Andrea Wolk Rager, ed. Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century (Yale Center for British Art; Yale University Press, 2013).
The last couple of years have witnessed an upsurge of interest in art of the Edwardian era. Recent months have seen a special edition of Visual Culture in Britain dedicated to ‘Edwardian Art and its Legacies’, the launch of the Tate-based Camden Town Group in Context, and the first part of Yale’s Edwardian project, The Edwardian Sense (published in 2010). Now we have Edwardian Opulence, the four-hundred page catalogue to the exhibition currently showing at the Yale Center for British Art, and the culmination of a decade’s research into early twentieth-century British culture.
Long seen, in the wonderful words of Edwardian Opulence curators Angus Trumble and Andrea Wolk Rager, as ‘an indolent coda drifting behind the long Victorian era’, the first decade of the twentieth century has struggled for some time to find its own voice, with many commentators holding onto the cliché of the ‘long summer afternoon’ or the ‘country house garden party’. This trope has not been accepted by all: Samuel Hynes, in his 1968 book The Edwardian Turn of Mind, was one of the first to call attention to the darker undercurrents of the age – an idea taken up with gusto in the field of art history by the 1987 exhibition The Edwardian Era. Indeed, it is fair to see both of these as foundational texts to which this current influx of Edwardian surveys owe a large debt. The title – and bold, Boldini cover – of Edwardian Opulence, however, suggests a slight shift in interests. Continue reading