Art and Vulgarity

Tim Hilton

  • William Mulready by Kathryn Heleniak
    Yale, 287 pp, £25.00, April 1980, ISBN 0 300 02311 1

Kathryn Moore Heleniak has written quite an interesting book about minor art and vulgarity in the earlier part of the 19th century. She has a good subject in Mulready, whose paintings are the very alphabet and epitome of these art-historical problems, and whose career she has faithfully but not fully recorded. She is fond of him, as we ought to be: he had a determined, kind character. But she is at fault with Mulready’s art. Her overvaluation is ingenuous and persistent. The result is not only an inflation of his merits: she cannot feel his artistic nature.

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