The Art and Ideology of the Trade Union Emblem, 18501925
346 Pages
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The Art and Ideology of the Trade Union Emblem, 18501925


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Learn more
346 Pages


A groundbreaking book that considers trade union emblems and banners as art objects in their own right, studying their commissioning, their designers and the social conditions and gender relations that they knowingly or unwittingly reveal. 

‘The Art and Ideology of the Trade Union Emblem, 1850–1925’ is a groundbreaking book that considers trade union emblems and banners as art objects in their own right. It studies their commissioning, their designers and the social conditions and gender relations that they knowingly or unwittingly reveal. The volume celebrates working-class culture and shows how it could be both innovative and derivative. Annie Ravenhill-Johnson’s exploration of the artistry of the emblems – the art of and for the toiling masses – sets these images of labour in their historical, cultural and ideological context.

Preface; Acknowledgements; About the Authors; List of Plates; Introduction; Chapter 1: The Genre; Chapter 2: The Emblem within the Emblem; Chapter 3: Depicting the Worker; Chapter 4: James Sharples and His Legacy; Chapter 5: The Development of the Architecture of the Emblem; Chapter 6: Arthur John Waudby and the Symbols of Freemasonry; Chapter 7: Men, Myths and Machines; Chapter 8: The Classical Woman; Chapter 9: Walter Crane; Chapter 10: The Art of Copying; Conclusion: Reprise and Review; Notes; Glossary; Bibliography; Index 



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Published 01 June 2013
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EAN13 9780857283177
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The Art and Ideology of the Trade Union Emblem, 1850–1925
The Art and Ideology of the Trade Union Emblem, 1850–1925
Annie RavenhillJohnson Edited by Paula James
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company
This edition first published in UK and USA 2013 by ANTHEM PRESS 75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave. #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
Copyright © Annie RavenhillJohnson and Paula James 2013
The moral right of the authors has been asserted.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library CataloguinginPublication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress CataloginginPublication Data RavenhillJohnson, Annie, 1942– The art and ideology of the trade union emblem, 1850–1925 / Annie RavenhillJohnson ; edited by Paula James. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 9780857285300 (hardback : alk. paper) 1. Labor union emblems–Great Britain–History. I. James, Paula. II. Title. HD6664.R29 2013 331.880941’09034–dc23 2013009634
ISBN13: 978 0 85738 530 0 (Hbk) ISBN10: 0 85728 530 0 (Hbk)
Cover image: Emblem of the Brass Founders, Turners, Fitters, Finishers and Coppersmiths Association, designed and printed by Blades, East & Blades, 1890s. Working Class Movement Library, Salford; and Plate 50 of this volume.
This title is also available as an eBook.
To John Gorman and R. A. Leeson, pioneers in the study of trade union art
Chapter 10
The Art of Copying
Chapter 5
Arthur John Waudby and the Symbols of Freemasonry
Men, Myths and Machines
Chapter 9
Walter Crane
The Classical Woman
Chapter 8
Chapter 6
List of Plates
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Reprise and Review
The Development of the Architecture of the Emblem
The Emblem within the Emblem
About the Authors
Chapter 7
The Genre
James Sharples and His Legacy
Depicting the Worker
Paula James
How This Book Came About
This book has been a labour of love and would not have been accomplished without the dedication and expertise of Dr Annie RavenhillJohnson who began her study of trade union emblems in her prizewinning undergraduate thesis,Gender Issues in Trade Union Imagery 1850–1925, followed by an MA dissertation covering the same historical period onThemes and Influences in Trade Union Imagery, 1850–1925. Annie Ravenhill Johnson’s chapters, which form the bulk of the book, build upon her earlier research to reveal the array of cultural influences that gave the emblems their form and meaning. A classicist by profession, I became intrigued by the GrecoRoman iconography of the New Unions when teaching midVictorian Britain at an Open University residential school in the 1990s. I was put in touch with Annie by the Manchester People’s History Museum and a friendship and collaboration began, which has never wavered despite the obstacles of distance and the usual pressures of life and work making plans for a sustained project a real challenge in recent years. Annie contributed a fascinating lecture on the Bricklayers’ banner to the Open University DVD,RomeFour Faces of the Classical Studies Department’s course, part of Experiencing Rome: Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire(presented 2000–2010), introducing thousands of parttime students to the rich iconography of this surviving emblem housed in the Manchester museum. We have given joint and solo presentations on aspects of emblems at seminars and conferences run by classicists, the Society for Emblem Studies, art history departments, spoken to audiences at galleries and museums and at Open University day schools to students of the Roman Empire and classical myth. The images of labour always surprise and delight audiences whatever their discipline or ideological standpoint. I am proud to have facilitated and encouraged Annie’s research, which has culminated in ten chapters of detailed analysis of key banners and certificates. Very little editing has been required and my contribution toArt and Ideologyhas developed into a dialogue with Annie’s findings as her research raises a number of issues for classicists and for those of us wrestling with the conundrum of cultural hegemony
past and present. Figures, forms and mottoes from antiquity have filtered through the visual motifs of medieval guilds, Renaissance art and architecture, and the emblems of Freemasonry and friendly societies permeate trade union banners and certificates. These artefacts were newly forged for a recently industrialized world; the message of modernity was carefully couched within an artistic template that suggested continuity and tradition. It seems as if the workingclass leaders who commissioned the banners and the membership ‘plates’ (miniature works of art for their proud owners) had not just appropriated Greek and Roman culture from purely decorative considerations but also understood its potential (as did the British ruling classes) for symbolizing the strength, power and ingenuity associated with an empirebuilding nation. However, the use of classical figures and features to enhance the prestige of a trade and its toilers was not a new phenomenon. The prevalence of allusions to the ancient world is a complex and challenging aspect of the emblems.