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Architectures of Display at the National Gallery The Barry Rooms as art historiography and the problems of reconstructing historical gallery space

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christopher Whitehead

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Abstract

This paper examines the numerous architectural projects associated with the National Gallery after the mid-nineteenth century, the articulation and presentation of art history in displays at the gallery and issues surrounding the practices of reconstructing of displays, both in historiographical and physical terms. The paper will do this by looking carefully at the north-east extension designed by E.M. Barry, which opened in 1876, and its display of foreign, and especially Italian, paintings. It will make reference to archival and other sources which can help both in reconstructing a sense of this historical display space and in considering its relevance today. This analysis will be accompanied by a discussion of some historiographical and methodological issues surrounding the practice of reconstructing, analysing and discussing historical displays, and a consideration of how this bears on the recent and ongoing physical 'restoration' of historic display spaces (for example at the National Gallery itself).


Publication metadata

Author(s): Whitehead C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the History of Collections

Year: 2005

Volume: 17

Issue: 2

Pages: 189-211

ISSN (print): 0954-6650

ISSN (electronic): 1477-8564

Publisher: Oxford University Press

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhi023

DOI: 10.1093/jhc/fhi023


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