One of London’s best art houses, the Tate Britain, is set to display a series of 17th and 18th century still life paintings, one of the major outcomes of a three year research project led by the University of York.
The display ‘Dead Standing Things’ which is on show until 16th September, focuses on the development of still-life painting in Britain in the period. This period saw a shift in the way artists sold their works. The old system of artistic patronage by and commissions from the wealthy elite was, from the later 1680s, augmented by newly-emerging auctions. Sales at taverns, coffee houses and commercial exchanges provided artists with new opportunities. It also meant the ‘middling’ class of professionals and merchants could purchase art to furnish their homes and satisfy their social ambitions, with affordable and easily available still life’s a popular choice.
The ‘Court, Country, City’ research project, launched in October 2009, has sought to stimulate new approaches to British visual culture from 1660-1732, period that saw profound changes in the nations character. Revolutionary transformations in politics a society coincided with a similarly important period of transformation in the visual arts.
“The display at Tate Britain and the forthcoming conference at York offer a testament to the diversity and ambition of the ‘Court, Country, City’ project. and showcase the wide-ranging and highly original new art-historical scholarship that is emerging on British art of this period. They also provide us with the chance to look closely at, and learn more about, some especially interesting and alluring works of art.”- Professor Mark Hallett
This is the second of two displays at Tate Britain organised as part of Court, Country, City: British Art, 1660-1735, a major research project run by the University of York and Tate Britain, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.