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Collectivism

Richard Jenkyns, 3 April 1997

Art and the Victorian Middle Class: Money and the Making of Cultural Identity 
by Dianne SachkoMacleod.
Cambridge, 375 pp., £65, October 1996, 0 521 55090 4
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... Dianne SachkoMacleod’s Art and the Victorian Middle Class opens up a new world: it answers some questions that have hitherto been asked in vain and others which we may not have thought of asking at all. What sort of people collected paintings in the 19th century? How far did they specialise, or were their tastes catholic? What were their motives? Did they buy from artists or dealers, or did they commission works to their own specifications? Who earned the most? How did prices fluctuate? Despite some substantial faults, Macleod’s book has notable virtues also, the first and foremost being that it is a splendid work of research ...

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