chapter  10
20 Pages

‘High Art’ and the Musical ‘Orient’

With their increasing reproduction in periodicals, the accessibility to 'high art' images in Britain in the long nineteenth century improved as the century progressed. From the mid-century, art exhibitions also became more common and more frequently open to a paying viewing public. British artists in the long nineteenth century produced a vast outpouring of images of non-European peoples, most particularly in 'high art' of the 'Orient', both 'real' and fantastical. Imagined or staged harem scenes like Bonington's became more prevalent by the middle of the nineteenth century, as many of the 'classicising and biblical efforts' that lent a 'subtlety' to orientalized artworks were steadily replaced by more 'sensationalised imagery'. In the survey of images of non-European music in 'high art', music is frequently linked with women in the 'Orient', with their implicit sensuality, and more occasionally their explicit sexuality.