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Missing the boat: the place of the maritime in the history of British visual culture

By Geoffrey Quilley

Abstract

This essay seeks to question the position of maritime visual culture and its history in relation to the core discipline of (art) history, against which the maritime is popularly perceived to have a marginal, specialized and even eccentric status. My principal concern is to consider how this split functions within or against an ideological frame of reference which since the 18th century has foregrounded the maritime as a quintessential part of British national identity. This coincides with the period in which a history of British art has been developed and annexed to a progressive definition of British (or, more usually, English) character. Given the extra-academic dimension of the maritime, I shall argue that its academic marginalization must be considered against a broader cultural dialectic between maritime and landed values, and that within this context its peripheral status does not contradict, but is actually constitutive of a discourse of national identity

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2000
OAI identifier: oai:sro.sussex.ac.uk:22801
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