This display introduced a major new research project, Court, Country, City: British Art 1660-1735, which explored how the visual arts developed in these years.
The period 1660-1735 was a dramatic time. Many people’s lives were transformed by the restoration of the monarchy, the establishment of a modern economy and government, and the expansion of global trade and empire. In art historical terms, the period covers the time between the appointment of Peter Lely as court painter to Charles II, and the emergence of a new form of modern British art with Hogarth and the St Martin’s Lane Academy in the 1730s.
The ways in which art was commissioned, practiced, viewed and experienced changed dramatically over these decades, as the balance of power between the Court (centred on the monarch), the Country (the land-owning elite) and the City (the urban middle class) shifted.
The research team would welcome your comments about the works of art you see here, and what you think they tell us about this key period of British history. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. The display was held in Room 3, Tate Britain, London, from November 2010 to November 2011.