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William Hazlitt and Art in Britain

The Courtauld Institute of Art
Vernon Square
Penton Rise
Kings Cross

Saturday 23 November, 14:00 – 17:00. (Registration from 13:30. A coffee break at 15:15)

Our Saturday Study Events offer an intense engagement with works of art in their cultural contexts. They are led by one, two or more expert speakers and happen once a term.

William Hazlitt and Art in Britain

In his relatively short life, William Hazlitt (1778-1830) contributed abundantly to British culture. There are many fascinating sides to his creative persona, ranging from the radical (and persecuted) political journalist to the brilliant, and witty, essayist, the philosopher and the most original and important critic of the Regency art world, encompassing literature, the stage, and the visual arts.   We are here predominantly interested in Hazlitt’s art criticism, which was not only the most original and serious approach to the emerging ‘British school’ to date, and commented in startlingly unorthodox ways on such giants of British art as William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds, but also pioneered the first deeply considered response to works of classical antiquity, including the so-called Elgin marbles, and of European old masters, in British collections.  It is impossible to imagine the vibrant British art world that developed so rapidly in the latter part of the eighteenth and the early decades of the nineteenth century without Hazlitt’s contribution as a thinker and writer on art.  It is equally impossible to separate his thoughts on art from his wider philosophy, and Uttara Natarajan will outline this complex, but fascinating context before focusing on Hazlitt’s art criticism in more detail.  To set the scene, her sessions will be preceded by Anne Puetz’ sketch of the institutions and main players of the British art world in the Regency period.

Our speakers: Dr Uttara Natarajan (Reader in English Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London) and Dr Anne Puetz (Head of Short Courses, The Courtauld)


Spaces are limited and advance booking is necessary.

£40 (£35 concs.)

For more information and for booking, please see:


Image: John Constable, Young man seated at a window, reading; graphite; 1806 © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery.


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