chapter  10
19 Pages

Recovering Robert Ross

Criticism, Commerce and Networking in the Edwardian Art World
WithSophie Hatchwell

This chapter aims to reposition Robert Baldwin Ross within a revisionist account of the Edwardian period, acknowledging the importance of his contribution to the promotion of English art at the start of the twentieth century. As Margery Ross presciently noted in 1952, most studies have viewed him almost exclusively as simply the friend and supporter of Wilde. The chapter argues that Ross's contribution to critical and commercial developments, the variety of his activities and his wide network of contacts, make him the ideal point of focus for an investigation into the promotional networks of contemporary English art of the Edwardian period. Ross's eclecticism provides a crucial insight into the relationships between criticism, networking and commercial activities. Ross's criticism rarely focuses on analysis of specific art works. One of the most significant aspects of Ross's career at Carfax is his utilisation of social networking skills for the purposes of private commercial activity.