- Also known as
Art Union of London
primary name: Art Union of London
other name: Art Union Society
other name: Art-Union of London
- organisation; institution/organisation; British
- Other dates
- 1837-1891 after
- 444 West Strand, London (in 1870-1875)
112 Strand, London (in 1890-1911)
- Founded in 1837, the first of many Art Unions established around Europe and America. The society existed to promote art by distributing specially-commissioned works by means of a lottery among its members. In order to maximise the number of works available, it soon entered print publishing in a large way; the objections of established publishers led to the 1845 Parliamentary Select Committee on Art Unions.
'The Art Union' (later called 'The Art Journal') may or may not have been related to this organisation. The monthly journal was established in 1839 by Charles Landseer RA and published by Hodgson & Graves. The editorship was given to Samuel Carter Hall, who later acquired the journal. The first issue appeared on 15 February 1839 at 8d.; 750 were printed. By 1843, Hall started including engravings of sculpture, which proved expensive and unprofitable. In 1848, with Hall still unable to turn a profit, the London publisher George Virtue purchased the journal, retaining Hall as editor. Virtue renamed it 'The Art Journal' in 1849, and this continued being publsihed into the XXc.
Prints (? 'proofs') often bear a circular blind-stamp of Britannia.
Presented a group of its publications to the BM in 1870 (see 1870,0813.367 to 542).
- Papers in the British Library, Ad.Mss.38865-70
Parliamentary Papers 1845 (612) VII, Select Committee on Art Unions
Lyndel Saunders King, 'The Industrialisation of taste: Victorian England and the Art Union', 1985
A King, 'George Godwin and the Art Union', in Victorian Studies VIII (1964), pp.101-30
Roger Smith, 'The rise and fall of the Art Union print', in Print Quarterly III (1986), pp.95-108 (with a checklist of prints published)