... There's more to them than meets the eye. Victoriana has always had a bad press, but if anybody is equipped to fight back against it, Jeremy Paxman is first-class in communicating his enthusiasm and putting it across in a lively way without sounding either too intellectual or forced. Maybe ... Read review
Jeremy Paxman's unique portrait of the Victorian age takes readers on an exciting journey ... more
through the birth of modern Britain. Using the paintings of the era as a starting point, he tells us stories of urban life, family, faith, industry and empire that helped define the Victorian spirit and imagination. To Paxman, these paintings were the television of their day, and his exploration of Victorian art and society shows how these artists were chronicling a world changing before their eyes. This enthralling history is Paxman at his best - opinionated, informed, witty, surprising - and a glorious reminder of how the Victorians made us who we are today.
Fascinating, comprehensive and very enthusiastic look at Victorian pictures
Unless the subject matter leaves you cold - absolutely none
"...sentimental pictures which you'd cross the street to avoid. Right?
Well, no. There's more to them than meets the eye. Victoriana has always had a bad press, but if anybody is equipped to fight back against it, Jeremy Paxman is first-class in communicating his enthusiasm and putting it across in a lively way without sounding either too intellectual or forced. Maybe you have been drawn to this book by his excellent 4-part TV documentary series first ..."
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Manufacturer's product description
In "The Victorians", Jeremy Paxman offers his personal take on the most important and influential period of our national past. Using the paintings of the era as his starting point - in his view, the one mode of Victorian art yet to be rescued from indifference. Paxman explores themes of family, urban life, industry, empire, and imagination to uncover truths (and explode some myths) about Victorian Britain. To Paxman, these paintings were the television of their day, immensely popular visual narratives that attracted crowds by the hundreds of thousands: a single picture show featuring Elizabeth Butler's Balaclava (depicting survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade) drew 50,000 viewers, some of them openly weeping. The Victorians shows how artists like Butler, William Powell Frith, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Luke Fildes, and Ford Madox Brown were chronicling a world changing before their eyes, and his overview ranges across the whole of Victorian life and culture: from high gothic architecture to the birth of the football league, from the novels of Dickens to the technological marvels of Brunel.