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Review: A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Britain by James Hamilton

A Strange BusinessAny number of novelists and historians could find inspiration in this vivid account of how the audience for art in Britain broadened during the 19th-century. In narrating the marriage of art, science, mercantile interests and nationalist fervour, Hamilton displays impressive scholarship and a mastery of dozens of technical subjects: from the advances in chemistry that revolutionised the manufacture of pigments to the development of engraving techniques that allowed for multiple impressions to be made from the same plate. The ingenious devices he cites range from a machine for reproducing sculpture,…

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