Queer British Art: 1867-1967 by Clare Barlow

misha_devi's review

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A really interesting overview of the history of queerness in art, exploring hidden queer codes and bold expressions in the UK.

brnineworms's review

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informative reflective medium-paced


A little disorganised, a little repetitive, and weirdly dry considering the preoccupation with eroticism. What’s more, this book is so cis it barely even registers to me as queer. Seriously, how can you look at an artist who vehemently rejected their birth name and all gendered terms and then not consider the possibility that they might have been trans, or do so only as an afterthought? True, we’ll never know exactly how they would have identified if they were around today, but, since we have more evidence supporting a trans interpretation than a cis one, why does a cis reading take precedence? I wouldn’t call the book transphobic, but the cisnormativity is palpable.

Other than that, my opinion of Queer British Art generally skews positive. It didn’t blow me away but it’s a nice little collection of (possibly) queer artists and artworks.

CONTENT WARNINGS: homophobia (especially as it relates to criminalisation), deadnaming and misgendering (arguably), discussion of sex and depictions of nudity, mentions of sexual exploitation and assault, racism, fascism, incest, suicide, and death

ahenderson368's review

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that_bookworm_guy's review

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informative inspiring reflective medium-paced


For LGBTQ+ History month in the UK, I wanted to read books that focus mainly on British history, and as someone who love art history, this was the perfect book for me.

The book is well set out and is respectful towards artists that maybe we don't know so much about their personal lives. It looks at the history through their lense instead of ours. With some of the artists they stated that although the artist dressed mascaline for the time, they used feminine pronouns and they respect that by not assuming how they would identify if they were around and active today. 

An interesting book that not only discusses art history but also queer history of the time.