'Refreshingly different' -
The Sunday Times
'An irresistible torrent of eloquence, knowledge and enthusiasm.
A book to listen to, to learn from and above all, to enjoy. Brilliant' -
Robin Simon, Editor, The British Art Journal
'Julian Freeman peers into the brilliant and murky melting pot of British Art and gives it a jolly good stir. Original and thought provoking.' -
Julian Spalding - Art Historian
'The reason for reading anything by Julian Freeman is that as a practitioner, historian and lover of art across almost half a century, his opinions have been nurtured by daily looking and appreciation. A reader can't ask for more in an interpreter and observer of art.' -
David Lee, Editor, The Jackdaw
'An enjoyable rollercoaster ride through centuries of British Art. Many art books cross my desk, but this one is different. Written with infectious enthusiasm, it is highly recommended for students and those wanting a lively introduction to the art of our isles.' -
Sue Ward, Executive Editor, The Art Book
'The narrative is a refreshing change to orthodox criticism... Freeman writes about art as you might imagine him writing about travel. It is humane, anecdotal and full of visual detail... Freeman is a man who thinks freely, without borders. He builds bridges between places where other art critics have done their level best to burn them to the ground, helping to level up British art with ideas and experiences beyond our cultural tradition.'-
Will Barrett, Artists & Illustrators Magazine
Julian Freeman's 16 essays on British art turn the subject on its head, its side and - without pretending to formally reassess it - give it a good shaking. Skating across the better part of 500 years, occasionally going the full distance, but usually remaining within the bounds of folk-memory, the book's partial choices of subject are unapologetic, and the ideas move in directions, and to places, where they don't usually go, or aren't often found. Moving at full-pelt or more sedately, the text always stays within reach of the popular reader… and of students also, who too often know far too little, and need to know much more.
Like his sell-out first book Art : a crash course (1998), and the co-written Design (from the same series), British Art is deliberately provocative and affectionate in turn. Freeman's text moves from discursive commentaries on the art of the home countries of the British Isles (including Ireland) to consider some of the ways that Brits of all colours and persuasions have handled the need to draw, the heave-ho of migration, maritime art, the weather, portraiture, warfare, industry, sculpture, spirituality, printmaking and the testy (and testing) business of exhibiting, in some very different, often demanding, conditions. Undoubtedly partial, and often partisan, British Art simply can't be exhaustive, but when it takes aim, it's unerring.
About the Author: Julian Freeman is an art historian, author and critic. A regular reviewer for The Art Book magazine, an occasional reviewer for other art glossies, and the author and co-author of Art: A Crash Course and Design: A Crash Course, he writes the way he teaches, with an irreverence for aesthetic mystique cultivated over time, but which doesn't quite obscure the love he has for his subject - British Art.