The following passage comes from the author's A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Great Britain, which is reviewed on this site. Thackeray created the illuminated “T” for Vanity Fair — George P. Landow

Illuminated initial T

he aim of Art-Union was, inter alia, to bring engraved reproductions of works of art to a wide public. Prints were distributed by lottery to subscribers, who were kept abreast of art-world news and gossip through editorials and chit-chat. In sum, the journal was a vital tool in maintaining the circulation of information and money in the art trade. Every volume had engravings and lithographs bound into it, each 11 ½ by 8 ½ inches, printed on heavy paper, and inscribed 'Published exclusively in the Art Union Journal'. These the subscribers could cut out and frame. Vernon and Hall made a business partnership with a lucrative deal in which Art-Union reproduced and distributed Vernon's paintings by engraving, thus increasing public knowledge and raising the value of Vernon's collection. This was a reverse of the system in which Turner's watercolours were engraved on completion and then sold off to collectors. Among the backers of Art-Union were the engraver John Landseer, 's father, and the print publishers Hodgson and Graves. This early form of co-operation set the tone for a range of business developments in the arts, the intention of which was not only to broadcast works of an more widely, but to make large sums of money. [62/63]


Hamilton, James. A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Great Britain. London: Atlantic Books, 2014. [Review by George P. Landow]

Last modified 12 August 2014