Unveiling the Sketching Society (1799-1851)

Dowle, Luke A. (2020) Unveiling the Sketching Society (1799-1851). MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In 1799, a group of young London-based artists founded a new Sketching Society. It was still in existence some fifty years or so later. Up until now, the Society has principally been of interest to scholars only insomuch as the names of Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman can be attached to its earliest activities and meetings. However, this has been to the neglect of the far better documented and longer-lived iteration of the group that was overseen by the brothers Alfred Edward Chalon and John James Chalon. This thesis will therefore look to re-assess the development of the Sketching Society, paying particular attention to its later, currently under-appreciated history under the Chalons in order to explore the place and wider importance of such affiliations in the art world of the early nineteenth century. This will mean looking at continuities in the aims and organisation of the Society over time, but also how the changing priorities of the increasingly better connected and established members of the Chalon-led group distinguish it from that pool of artists who first met around the turn of the century.

Beginning with a brief history of the clubs associated with Girtin and Cotman, the thesis will then go on to examine the make-up of the Chalon group. Subsequent chapters discuss the actual activities of this later group, exploring the literary or thematic prompts employed at their regular evening meetings and reconstructing select sessions. They will then consider the public-facing aspects of the Society’s life, in the form of a series of publications and exhibitions it organised to promote its activities. All told, a survey of what might be termed the long history of the Sketching Society is revealing of the significance of such collaborative and communal activities in making and sustaining a career in the capital’s art world.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Sketching Society, Victorian Art, 19th century art, Art, Thomas Girtin, John Sell Cotman, Clarkson Stanfield, Thomas Uwins, Joshua Cristall, Alfred Edward Chalon, John James Chalon, Charles Robert Leslie, British Art, Landscape Art, Sketching Club, Chalon Sketching Society, Watercolours, Watercolour, Sketching, Historical Art
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Supervisor's Name: Bonehill, Dr John
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Mr Luke Antony Dowle
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81546
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2020 06:41
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2020 06:46
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81546

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