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Hamilton, James, 1948–

A strange business : a revolution in art, culture, and commerce in 19th century London / James Hamilton.

Additional Title(s):

Strange business

First Pegasus Books hardcover edition.
New York ; London : Pegasus Books, 2015.
Physical Description:
xiv, 384 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Reference Library
N8600 .H36 2015 (LC)
Accessible in the Reference Library [Hours]
Note: Please contact the Reference Library to schedule an appointment [Email ycba.reference@yale.edu]

Previously published as: A strange business : making art and money in nineteenth-century Britain. London : Atlantic Books, 2014.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 333-338) and index.
"A vivid excursion into London's nineteenth century art world, evoking the famed personalities, social changes, and technological advances that sparked a revolution in art commerce. Britain in the nineteenth century saw a series of technological and social changes which continue to influence and direct us today. Its reactants were human genius, money and influence, its crucibles the streets and institutions, its catalyst time, its control the market. In this rich and fascinating book, James Hamilton investigates the vibrant exchange between culture and business in nineteenth-century Britain, which became a center for world commerce following the industrial revolution. He explores how art was made and paid for, the turns of fashion, and the new demands of a growing middle-class, prominent among whom were the artists themselves. While leading figures such as Turner, Constable, Landseer, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Dickens are players here, so too are the patrons, financiers, collectors and industrialists; publishers, entrepreneurs, and journalists; artists' suppliers, engravers, dealers and curators; hostesses, shopkeepers and brothel keepers; quacks, charlatans, and auctioneers. Hamilton brings them all vividly to life in this kaleidoscopic portrait of the business of culture in nineteenth-century Britain, and provides thrilling and original insights into the working lives of some of the era's most celebrated artists."--Provided by publisher.
Subject Terms:
Art and business -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
Art and business.
Arts -- Finance.
Arts -- Great Britain -- Finance.
Arts -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
Great Britain -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
Great Britain.
Social conditions.

  • Introduction: A sharp and shining point
  • Conditions of success
  • Patron old style: "Business is often friendship's end"
  • Patron new style: "The delicate lips of a horse"
  • Painter: "Painting is a strange business"
  • Sculptor: Creating intelligent life
  • Dealer: "I have picked up a few little things"
  • Colourman: "The dangerous symptoms he labours under"
  • Engraver: "Brother scrapers"
  • Publisher: "Six hundred and eighty-five ways to dress eggs"
  • Curator: "The awful care"
  • Spectator: "So useful it is to have money, heigh-ho"
  • A gigantic birdcage.