William Roscoe. Commerce and Culture
University of Liverpool Press, 2008, H/b, 228 pp, 10 col pl, 4 b/w ills
Historians have long awaited a serious rounded study of William Roscoe, the iconic figure of late 18th-century and early 19th-century Liverpool, the British pioneer of art-historically informed collecting of paintings, drawings and prints. For far too long we have had to rely the hagiographical pair of volumes written by his son, Henry, published only three years after his death. Fittingly, a Merseyside publication has appeared to meet some, if not all, of the requirements for a 21st-century appreciation of the Liverpool poet, historian, anti-slave campaigner and politician. For an appreciation of his work as a botanist one needs to turn to John Edmondson, while Arline Wilson's treatment of his art collecting and art patronage is...