Overview

These 3 essays forms part of a larger enquiry into the development and proliferation of the Ruin across British Art. The selected catalogue artworks date between 1770 and 1830 and comprise a selection of both Fine and Decorative arts. The intention of this variety does not only show the extensive reach of the iconographic use of the Ruin in Art; but also toys with the originally seventeenth century Lockean notion whereby knowledge is transmitted through each of the senses, implying a directly proportional increase in possible knowledge absorption equal to the varied selection of forms, materials and colour as stimuli. 1
The Ruin, in itself, is a multi-dimensional force which poses several issues to the uninitiated beholder. The first essay has been developed to understand key advancements in pre-1770 British culture with a focus on socio-economic tastes and advancements along with theoretical and aesthetic developments, all vital building blocks to the subsequent Picturesque and Romantic movements.
The second essay examines various primary and secondary sources related to the British Picturesque Movement and highlights the key aspects therein which directly instigate the proliferation of Ruins in Art.
The third essay explores the contributions of the Romantic movement with a primary focus on no- tions relating to the ‘strangely beautiful’ and Sublime sensitivities . Here the Ruin is further imbued with ethereal and arcane meaning; enhancing its status as a perfectly appropriate emblem of the Movement’s energy and that is so until this very day.

Conclusion: It was found that the proliferation of Ruins in British Art between 1770-1830 developed as a product of the commodi cation and nationalising of the Classical ruin found in foreign landscape painting traditions particularly the ‘Vedute con Rovine’ genre and the proto-Romantic Claudean style. This work has also brought to light a correlation between each Movement’s principles, characteristics and its approach to Ruins in turn affecting the innate value of the Ruin.

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