Fishy business: Richard Wright’s The Fishery (1764), marine painting, and the limits of refinement

Sarah Monks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Ordinarily marginalized for their commercially-driven subject-matter and artisanal practices, British marine painters were presented with a new opportunity in the 1760s: a public competition encouraging them to produce aesthetically-refined "works of art" commensurate with Britain's new identity as maritime and cultural world power. Through a close analysis of the first prize-winning painting (Richard Wright's The Fishery), its problematic subject-matter (the Society of Arts' "Land-Carriage Fish Scheme"), and the competition's scandalous disintegration, this article describes the anxieties, failures, and conflicts generated by such attempts to forge a culture of refinement within a society increasingly set against itself by commercialism and competitiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-421
Number of pages17
JournalEighteenth Century Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

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