- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-0-7190-8964-0
- Pages: 192
- Price: £85.00
- Published Date: February 2016
Novelty fair examines mid-nineteenth-century people, things and places generally understood to be discrete and unrelated: urban fairs and the Great Exhibition, daguerreotypes and ballads, satirical shilling books and government-backed design reform, blackface performers and middle-class paterfamilias. A range of new and neglected sources, drawn mainly from popular culture are used to inform the discussion. The pivotal years between Chartism and the Great Exhibition emerge as far more contested than has previously been recognised and bourgeois forms and strategies are revealed as being under stress in a period that has been seen as a triumphant one for that class.
Novelty fair will be of special interest to historians of Chartism, cultural historians interested in the Great Exhibition and design reform and those in the field of Victorian studies, cultural studies and visual culture more generally.
Introduction: time's question
1. The 'offensive body': the politics of consumption in 1848
2. 'All that is solid melts into air': representing the Chartist crowd in 1848
3. 'The gutta percha staff': between respectable and risqué satire in 1848
4. 'All that is sacred is profaned': balloons, fairs, ballads and the Great Exhibition
5. 'The pound and the shilling': romance and the cash nexus at the Great Exhibition
6. A 'chamber of horrors': class and consumption at mid-century
Conclusion: Novelty Fair, burlesquing history
Jo Briggs is Assistant Curator of 18th- and 19th-Century Art at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore