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Nature's Truth: Photography, Painting, and Science in Victorian Britain

by Anne Helmreich Penn State University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 264 pages
AU$163.00 NZ$170.43
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Investigates why nineteenth-century British painters and photographers as diverse as the Pre-Raphaelites, P. H. Emerson, and Augustus John pursued truth to nature, and how contemporary science and philosophy informed their artistic practice and the critical reception of their work.


List of Illustrations



1 Truth to Nature and the “Innocent Eye”

2 John Everett Millais and John Brett: The Rise of Imagination and the Crisis of Pre-Raphaelitism

3 P. H. Emerson and George Clausen: Renouncing the Quest

4 Neorealism: Truth to Nature in Modernist Critical Debate





“Anne Helmreich’s brilliant new book makes us rethink Victorian art, the development of British artistic modernism, and the history of visual perception. Returning us to a time when art and science worked closely in dialogue, Helmreich eloquently traces the changing meanings of ‘truth to nature’—objective, factual recording of detail, or subjective, imaginative response. Astute, detailed analysis of paintings and photographs combines with extensive reading in primary works, rendering this an original and illuminating study.”

—Kate Flint, author of The Victorians and the Visual Imagination

Anne Helmreich is Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Texas Christian University. Her most recent book is The Rise of the Modern Art Market in London, 1850–1939 (2011), coedited with Pamela Fletcher.