Remediation, Medievalism and Empire in T. W. Camm’s ‘Jubilee of Nations’ Window at Great Malvern Priory

Cheshire, Jim (2020) Remediation, Medievalism and Empire in T. W. Camm’s ‘Jubilee of Nations’ Window at Great Malvern Priory. 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 2020 (30). pp. 1-20. ISSN 1755-1560

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.16995/ntn.2903

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Remediation, Medievalism and Empire in T. W. Camm’s ‘Jubilee of Nations’ Window at Great Malvern Priory
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Abstract

This essay will focus on T. W. Camm’s window in the south aisle of Great Malvern Priory, which celebrates Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. This window exemplifies the complex ways in which stained glass interacted with a number of different influences in the 1880s and shows that our capacity to understand it necessitates exploring how it interacted with other media. This essay is an attempt to broaden the debate about Victorian art and empire to ‘reinsert empire as a fundamental category for the analysis of British art’, it also underlines that site-specific artworks are not available for inclusion in revisionist exhibitions and so are liable to be excluded from that debate.
The stained glass window at the centre of this essay is a fascinating example of an artwork that absorbed a range of influences from late Victorian Britain: it concentrates on a very specific moment (Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee) but embeds this event within established historical narratives and stylistic tropes, generating a strong sense of continuity through allusions to religious imagery and medievalism. The window is simultaneously ancient and modern: a medium associated with the middle ages sited within a great medieval church, but an image mediated through a recent technology (photography) and saturated with the imagery of the British Empire. An industrial mentality is implicit in the window’s hierarchy of production while both industrial superiority and imperial power are depicted as evidence of divine providence, a position implied through the selection of biblical quotations. If industrial and imperial power were both examples of God’s plan, a providential perspective might provide the logic for this visual celebration of just such an alliance.

Keywords:Victorian, Stained glass, British Empire, postcolonialism, Gothic Revival, Photography, Remediation
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W632 History of Photography
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V144 Modern History 1800-1899
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V350 History of Art
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V370 History of Design
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
ID Code:39906
Deposited On:14 Aug 2020 09:17

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