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Transformative BeautyArt Museums in Industrial Britain$
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Amy Woodson-Boulton

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778046

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778046.001.0001

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Ruskin, Ruskinians, and City Art Galleries

Ruskin, Ruskinians, and City Art Galleries

(p.19) 1 Ruskin, Ruskinians, and City Art Galleries
Transformative Beauty
Stanford University Press

This chapter discusses the men who tried to put John Ruskin's ideas into practice to bring art to Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery would be significantly determined by the knowledge, prominence, connections, and longevity of its curator. In Liverpool, perhaps Ruskin's suspicions were justified, as art remained a luxury rather than a necessity. The Manchester City Art Gallery could not avert friction between its stated mission of giving workers access to fine art and artisanship and its frequent use as a space of middle-class entertainment and sociability. The major advocates of these city art museums linked art, beauty, social justice, labor, and morality in different ways, but all argued that art was a requirement for the enhancement and betterment of the working classes and of industrial society itself.

Keywords:   John Ruskin, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Liverpool, Manchester City Art Gallery, beauty, social justice, labor, morality, industrial society, middle classes

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