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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charming book
This book is a very well researched study of Covent Garden and its adjoining districts in the eighteenth century with 174 illustrations with pithy comments and evocative descriptions based on contemporary accounts. The author notes the exact locations of many dwellinghouses, coffee shop, studios etc to prove his thesis [he succeeds, even though there was at the time no...
Published 17 months ago by A. J. Flint

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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Limited focus
I enjoyed the early chapters of this book on Covent Garden, the area, buildings etc and then I looked forward to hearing about some of the Bohemians of the title. Fair enough Gatrell decided to focus on artists, and we only get tantalising glimpses of their literary and thespian neighbours, but he focuses on very few artists. Of these I would question the society painter...
Published 13 months ago by hope white


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charming book, 11 Oct. 2013
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A. J. Flint "106562631" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age (Hardcover)
This book is a very well researched study of Covent Garden and its adjoining districts in the eighteenth century with 174 illustrations with pithy comments and evocative descriptions based on contemporary accounts. The author notes the exact locations of many dwellinghouses, coffee shop, studios etc to prove his thesis [he succeeds, even though there was at the time no established middle class to be bohemian against]. I had to go to the endpapers of "Boswell's London Journal" published by Heinemann in 1950 which has a plan of CG showing some of the places he mentions. Something similar in this book would be helpful. On a minor point. I annot agree that the present Covent Garden is a "charmless tourist trap", The tourists I can't answer for, but architectually St Paul's church still dominates the piazza with its portico and great Tuscan eaves protecting us from the fierce London sun, looking over Fowler's market building, itself an outstanding piece of architecture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The First Bohemians, 15 July 2014
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Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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The world of ‘bohemian’ London in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries crops up often in some of the books that I read; by the time of Dickens much of this unique world and way of life had gone, but there is still a shadow of it in his writing. The pictures and caricatures, the satirical and often scathing indictments on society, politics and culture that were offered by artists such as Rowlandson and Hogarth, probably the best known ‘popular’ artists of the time have lived on and still offer relevant commentary to viewers today.

The author has taken an area focusing around Covent Garden and offered a view of the lives, occasions and output of some of these artists who lived in this hothouse of inspiration. Many of the most well-known artistic and literary names of the eighteenth century lived, at one time or another in this area, and this book covers the artists. It would be nice to find a book that covered the literary aspect of this area and time; that too would make a tremendous read. There is an Appendix in this book that lists all that is known of 146 artists and engravers who lived in and around the Covent Garden area during the period in the book; that makes for a lot of people of artistic temperament living in a small area, and making the most of life. Most of them lived hard, fast and sometimes brutal lives, and this shows in a lot of their work – bawdy, cutting, brutally ‘warts and all’ images of life and living in the eighteenth century. There is more to be learned by studying some of these images than could be said in many words about the same scene, and they repay close study immensely. The author has included about 200 images in the book, and they are all related and referenced to the text and points made therein. This makes for a great and thoroughly engaging read about a time and place that seemed quite unique in the European world. Quite remarkable, and extremely interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The past is a different country, 14 Aug. 2014
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Very interesting and thorough history of a formative period in the capital's history.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book Liz Vaughan, 13 Oct. 2013
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This book not only brings to life a fascinating area of London but also the lives of the people, the artists,actors and writers who lived there. It is really readable history at it's very best. I had never seen many of the illustrations before and they help to make it a shocking but gloriously funny book.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, 18 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age (Hardcover)
As usual with Vic Gatrell this is informative, entertaining and very well written. A must for history buffs and those interested in London.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age (Hardcover)
Extremely well written book, and a must if you are interested in the period
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 26 Feb. 2015
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A terriffic venture into Georgian London and the Covent Garden art scene
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great book, 4 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age (Hardcover)
well written informative book that brought the 18th century alive haven't finished reading it yet my pleasure before I fal;l asleep
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an engaging and splendidly illustrated study, 7 April 2014
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This review is from: The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age (Hardcover)
I bought this for its study of Hogarth in context, but it proved to be much more than that, dripping with precise and telling facts about the ramshackle but wonderfully inventive world around Coventry Garden in the eighteenth century.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative, 20 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age (Hardcover)
As ever, a well-researched and written book from Professor Gatrell and too good to keep for a Christmas present, needs reading straightaway.
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The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age
The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age by Vic Gatrell (Hardcover - 3 Oct. 2013)
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