Five Hundred Years of British Art



ISBN: 9781849767057 Category:

Kirsteen McSwein


Tate Britain is the home of British art from 1500 to the present day. This luxury guide to the highlights of the collection provides an essential introduction to the extraordinary development of British art over the centuries, telling the story of the collection and presenting a selection of the stunning works on display.

British art is also notable for genres unique to itself: group portraits, known as ‘conversation pieces’, focusing on social relations between friends, family and allies; themes from British literature, particularly Shakespeare, Milton and Tennyson (rather than classical mythology); and topical subjects in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries reflecting the wars with France and the scientific innovations of the Industrial Revolution. Hogarth ushered in an art of social engagement, as did the artists associated with the Young British Art movement more recently.

The art from Britain in Tate’s collection is rich with imaginative invention and reinvention and this panoramic book celebrates this aesthetic ingenuity as an ongoing story, revealing how 500 years of art can act as a fascinating lens through which to deepen our understanding of ourselves and society, past and present, in both Britain and in the rest of the world.

This generous companion to the Tate collection provides a sumptuous compendium of the rich history of British art, designed to offer readers an overview of the collection and demonstrate the remarkable range of art in the collection.

Additional information

Weight 1825 g
Dimensions 26.1 x 28.8 cm
Publisher name Tate Publishing
Publication date 15 January 2021
Number of pages 240
Format Hardback
Dimensions 26.1 x 28.8 cm
Weight 1825 g


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Kirsteen McSwein is Assistant Curator for Interpretation at Tate Britain and is author of Tate Britain: Highlights, Autumn and Winter, also published by Tate.