The Ordering and Disordering of Work

Paul Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article asks why Brown’s Work (1852–65) has had such an ambiguous position in the history of art – repeatedly, even obsessively, discussed, but also regularly dismissed as a failure. This article argues that Brown’s critics have failed to understand his distinctive development of the traditions of Hogarth, which run counter to the stylistic devices that have typically been coded as ‘modern’ or ‘avant-garde’. Brown consciously reframes Hogarth’s compositional techniques and pictorial rhetoric in order to produce an image built around compressed and conflicting patterns of pictorial order. Brown generates multiple irreconcilable readings of the world he portrays and of his own methods of portraying it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-276
JournalVisual Culture in Britain
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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