Pride and Prejudice
, British, 1775 - 1817
, Irish British, 1860 - 1920
Charles Whittingham and Co
George Allen (publisher)
Material and Medium: book
Dimensions: Overall (when closed): 195 x 145 x 33mm
Accession Number: CGSG03918
This book cover is decorated in a style associated with the Aesthetic movement of art which flourished in the late 1800s. Designers and artists of the aesthetic movement celebrated the ideal of 'art for art's sake', which opposed the alternative Victorian idea that art and design should have a moral, narrative or spiritual purpose. As such, works of the Aesthetic movement often are associated with decadence or sensuality.
The peacock was one of the most prominent motifs seen in works belonging to the Aesthetic movement due to its colourful and gaudy tail feathers. Hugh Thomson's illustration of a peacock on the front of 'Pride and Prejudice' is not a natural study of a peacock; its explosion of tail feathers is typical of Aestheticism's ostentatious display.
Thomson's illustrations inside the book are rather different in style, and take on a nostalgic and romantic flavour suited to the book as a historic romance.