Chazen Museum of Art


The Golden Age of British Watercolors, 1790–1910

September 22 to December 2 | Leslie and Johanna Garfield Gallery

September 22 through December 2, 2012

Watercolor as a medium reached its pinnacle in Victorian Britain. This exhibition demonstrates the distinctive characteristics of watercolor—delicacy, luminosity, visual opulence, and technical difficulty—and presents a range of nineteenth-century subject matter, including landscape, still life, fairy painting, and classical themes. It also shows the varied uses of watercolor, from travel souvenirs to illustrations to independent works of art. Visually powerful and intellectually engaging, The Golden Age of British Watercolors, 1790–1910 reveals watercolor in a new light. 

The Golden Age of British Watercolors, 1790–1910 was researched and curated by UW–Madison undergraduate and graduate students in Nancy Rose Marshall's Victorian Watercolor Seminar (spring 2012). 

QR Codes in the Exhibition

The labels in this exhibition have a small square pattern on them—a QR code. These little squares are commonly used in magazine advertisements, marketing campaigns, and even video games. They are matrix barcodes, and a frequent application is to map a URL that provides additional content related to the immediate material. The QR codes in the exhibition link to a web page on the UW–Madison Art History Department website that includes additional material researched by the Victorian Watercolor Seminar students, and the webpages are produced and hosted by the Art History Department.

To access these pages in the gallery, visitors need a smartphone and a QR Reader app, which is simple to use—just open the app and point your mobile device camera at the code. There are many free QR readers available in smartphone app stores. There is also a computer in the gallery that links to the pages.

For anyone on the Internet, the material is available at the Art History Department exhibition website

Related Programming

Thurs. Sept. 27 – Reception

Sat. Oct. 13 – Watercolor demonstration by Katherine Steichen Rosing

Sat. Nov. 3 – Watercolor demonstration by Katherine Steichen Rosing

Thurs. Nov. 15 – Lecture by Scott Wilcox, Yale Center for British Art

Drop-in docent tours Sept. 27, Oct. 11, 13, 25, and Nov. 3, 8, 29. See calendar for details. 

Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by the Chazen Museum of Art Council and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Press release

Image: Thomas Matthews Rooke (English, 1842–1942), Herod’s Feast, 1895, graphite and gouache, 29 1/2 x 61 1/2 in. Walter A. and Dorothy Jones Frautschi Endowment Fund, 2010.25

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