Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom, presenting the development of British art and culture from the Elizabethan period to the present day. Together with the Reference Library, the Center’s collections of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, rare books, and manuscripts provide an exceptional resource for understanding the story of British art.

Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the dawn of the Twentieth Centry

Recently made popular by the British television series Downton Abbey, the Edwardian period has been depicted as an indolent summer afternoon of imperial and elite complacency, a lingering coda of the Victorian era that resisted the advent of the Modern, but also as a period of tremendous and rapid political, economic, and artistic change that affected every aspect of British life. Edwardian Opulence explores issues of creation, consumption, and display through a range of objects, including portraits by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, diamond tiaras and ostrich-feather fans, jewel-like Autochrome color photography, and a spectacular embroidered gown that belonged to the American-born Vicereine of India. Spanning divides of class and geography, the exhibition identifies opulence and leisure as driving forces for the domestic and imperial British economic engine in the early years of the twentieth century.

The exhibition includes a special program of historic sound recordings that have been selected from the Yale Collection of Historical Sound Recordings in the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library at Sterling Memorial Library. Some of the recordings relate directly to works on display in the exhibition, but the majority have been selected with broader themes in mind, such as patriotism, politics, memory, language, sentiment, and a peculiarly Edwardian sense of wistful nostalgia.

Paul Mellon, Founder

The Louis I. Kahn building that is home to the Center, and its collections of British art and books, were the gift of Paul Mellon (1907–1999), a graduate of Yale College (Class of 1929). The collections’ particular strength in the art and books of the eighteenth century reflect the taste and enthusiasms of Paul Mellon.



About Laurel

Laurel Thorndike is our "artist in residence" here at We Love Museums. "Lately I have been experimenting with a very illustrative style. Using images & feelings as a writer would use words to bring characters "to life" Suggesting a possible story or building from existing ones." Inspiring artists & art periods include Art Nouveau's Alphonse Mucha and Maxfield Parrish. Pre-Raphaelites such as Waterhouse, Holman Hunt, Leighton. Portrait painter's John Singer Sargent and Julio Romero de Torres. Symbolists such as Jean Delville and Carlos Schwabe. In 2001 she studied photography with nature photographer Patrick Pacheo Zephyr. She immediately fell in love with using the camera to 'paint with light'. Using natural light to create a picture full of emotion from something as ordinary as a reflection in a small pond or a lone tree on a hill. In 2014 she attended the 'Illustrator Master Class' at Amherst College, A one week intensive with the instruction of some of the finest illustrator's in the country! Her works have been shown at the juried Art On The Mountain show 2004 & 2005 Wilmington VT and the Northeastern Fine Arts Juried Exhibition at the Green Trees Gallery Northfield MA 2005. As well as at various galleries and art fairs throughout New England. Her work can be viewed and purchased at: www.LaurelThorndike.com.

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