The Synthesis of Town and Trade: Visualising Provincial Urban Identity 1800-1851

Layton-Jones, Katy (2008). The Synthesis of Town and Trade: Visualising Provincial Urban Identity 1800-1851. Urban History, 35(1) pp. 72–95.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963926807005184

Abstract

The early nineteenth-century manufacturing town was a diverse and transient environment that inspired a varied canon of printed imagery. Alongside folio engravings and souvenir prints, one of the most prevalent genres of urban imagery was the commercial advertisement. This article demonstrates the value of early pictorial advertisements in accessing contemporary attitudes to urban manufacturing and to provincial urbanization in general. It argues that in a climate of urban rivalry, artists and publishers inherited and invented new visual formulae with which to promote manufactories and commercial premises to tradesmen, consumers and tourists. It concludes that the resulting imagery throws into question the prevalent historical caricature of the early nineteenth-century manufacturing town as a place of deprivation, disorder and decay.

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