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Visualising and Experiencing the British Imperial World: The British Empire Exhibition at Wembley (1924/25)

Ryu, Jiyi (2018) Visualising and Experiencing the British Imperial World: The British Empire Exhibition at Wembley (1924/25). PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the British Empire Exhibition (1924/25), the first example of intra-empire exhibitions during the interwar period. The Exhibition encapsulated postwar anxieties as well as imperial pride and inspired numerous, under-researched interwar propaganda activities, involving the visual arts. Following a substantial historiographical and methodological introduction, Chapter 1 examines the interrelationship between imperial knowledge and imagined (imperial) community. By rereading supplementary publications, I construe how a bird’s eye view and imperial abstract minds, incorporated in the public materials, developed an informed audience of imperial-minded individuals and groups, especially children. In this chapter, I also suggest a new approach to connecting an urban core and its suburbs through imperial urban networks, moving beyond existing scholarship on dominant economic, political, cultural and ceremonial locations in the heart of the city. The ideas of suburban imperialism and circulation expanded the physical experience of the miniaturised empire at the Exhibition to a large number of homes, extending imperial citizenship from the public to the domestic. Chapters 2 and 3 focus on the Palace of Arts section of the Exhibition, and provide a close analysis of the public art displays at Wembley, which challenge the conventional division between modernist and non-modernist, and the tension between art and craft/design within an imperial framework. Chapter 3, in particular, underlines the importance of the Queen’s Dolls’ House, designed by Edwin Lutyens, unveiled to the public in the Palace of Arts at Wembley, and now held in the Royal Collection. The House epitomises the characteristics of Britain as a nation and an empire through its English exterior and British objects within.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
Depositing User: Jiyi Ryu
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 16:40
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2018 16:40
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21902

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