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British Modernism and Chinoiserie$
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Anne Witchard

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748690954

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748690954.001.0001

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Roger Fry, Chinese Art and The Burlington Magazine

Roger Fry, Chinese Art and The Burlington Magazine

(p.53) Chapter 3 Roger Fry, Chinese Art and The Burlington Magazine
British Modernism and Chinoiserie

Ralph Parfect

Edinburgh University Press

The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs was founded in 1903 by a group of art theorists, scholars and historians that included Roger Fry, later a co-editor of the magazine for almost ten years (1909-1919). On Fry’s death in 1934, the magazine itself described him as ‘the man who in the past did most to establish it and mould its character’. Part of this character was a consistent attention to Chinese art that he shared with fellow Bloomsbury writers, artists and intellectuals. This chapter illuminates Fry’s practice as a theorist and an editor interested in the arts of China by examining how these were represented and discussed in the Burlington Magazine under his auspices. It focuses especially on the kinds of language, discourse and textual strategies of sinophile contributors such as Arthur Waley, Lawrence Binyon, Perceval Yetts and R.L. Hobson. The chapter locates their approaches to Chinese art within a longer-term Western historiography of China and its culture(s), as well as within late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century discourses such as aestheticism, scientism and orientalism. It thus attempts to unpack the ideological implications of the ‘connoisseurship’ professed by the magazine’s title as applied to the subject of Chinese art.

Keywords:   Roger Fry, Burlington Magazine, Arthur Waley, Lawrence Binyon, Walter Perceval Yetts

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