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on 7 August 2007
As an owner of the 1978 2nd edition of Christopher Wood's 'The Dictionary of Victorian Painters', I bought this volume primarily to expand the plates section. I was disappointed to find that the original 500 black & white illustrations were exactly repeated in the new volume, and that only 250 were new. Colour is confined to the first 100 pages, being 'Victorian Painting - a Survey'. This survey, however, is an excellent scholarly work, beautifully written and illustrated, which I would have wanted to buy as a separate.

What a difference colour makes in photographs of paintings! The beauty of the first third of this volume leaves one longing to see the colours of the remainder. Many of Christopher Wood's original picture selection were photographed in auction rooms and commercial galleries, so these works are now inaccessible in private collections. However, numerous major and stunningly-coloured paintings are in public galleries whose curators would probably have been delighted to replace the old black and white images, previously supplied, with modern digital colour photographs. In this day of routine digital photography for online auction catalogues there can be no shortage of good colour illustrations of victorian paintings passing through the major auction houses.

The importance of the book, taken together with Christopher Wood's volume of text, remains unchanged. It is the best and most comprehensive reference for identifying the artists of the Victorian period, and placing their work into its historical and stylistic context.
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