What’s so great about a Hogarth? Why should we care about a shark in a tank? What does it matter that they are both British artworks? Art sparks questions and ideas in all of us, but most of us often don’t have the space to explore or search for answers. Left with just the small placard to the side of a piece hung in a gallery, we might find ourselves staring blankly at an artwork, puzzling over its significance or meaning. But you don’t need an Art History degree to understand British art — you just need our October Book of the Month, An Opinionated Guide to British Art by writer and curator Lucy Davies.
This essential primer takes us on a journey through British history and culture via its 64 most iconic artworks. We start with an introduction to the general character of British art, and a brief look at the key artistic movements from Medieval times, to present day. For tourists and gallery-lovers, there is also a guide to the best galleries for seeing British Art in person, as well as a mention of where each piece of art is currently housed.
At the back of the book, Lucy has taken the time to include a glossary of art terms, so that previously intimidating words like “avante-garde” and “Repussoir” will start to feel like old friends. There is also a handy artist directory, providing short biographies for Britain’s key art figures.
Produced with visual delight in mind, the high quality printing means you’ll be able to appreciate the vibrancy and detail of each masterpiece. The compact size (5″ x 7″) also makes it the ideal companion to your next gallery excursion. Accompanying every featured artwork, is an introduction that guides us through complicated historical contexts without any fuss, and unpacks the most important elements of each piece. Succinct and illuminating, these descriptions provide everything you need to take a look at British art and see more than you did before.