Art in a Cool Climate: The Cultural Policy of the British State in European Context, <i>c.</i> 1780 to <i>c.</i> 1850*

Peter Mandler

in Unity and Diversity in European Culture c.1800

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263822
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734960 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Art in a Cool Climate: The Cultural Policy of the British State in European Context, c. 1780 to c. 1850*

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Is it possible to speak of a ‘cultural policy’ of the ‘State’ in this period without falling into anachronism? Patronage of the fine arts had been a traditional (self-selected) responsibility of individual nobles and princes. Although sovereign nobles and princes were taking on in this period more explicit responsibilities for police and for more of their people, it is often difficult to distinguish between their activities as individual patrons, their activities as courtly patrons, and their activities as States. This chapters examines what was distinctive about the British State and its cultural policies in the period during and after the Napoleonic Wars. It argues that both the British State and its posture towards culture carried certain features that put them in the Western European mainstream towards the end of the eighteenth century. It also assesses the extent to which Britain was also affected by events in Europe, by which the fine arts were yoked bureaucratically to education and religion in programmes of national integration.

Keywords: Britain; fine arts; cultural policy; Europe; education; religion; patronage; culture; police; nobles

Chapter.  8447 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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