The Art of Copying Art.

AuthorThomas, Rod

THE ART OF COPYING ART by Penelope Jackson

Palgrave Macmillan, 2022, ISBN 9783030889159, 242 pages

Penelope Jackson has done it again with The Art of Copying Art. This is a hard book to put down. She makes a strong case for the better appreciation of copies. She points out that copies tell their own stories, and add to our appreciation of the rich complexity and knowledge of art.

Her style of writing is appealing to non-art aficionados. She clearly states propositions and then relentlessly pursues the subject, presenting detailed evidence, allowing the material to speak for itself. Consequently, the reader has time to reflect on the permutations, and make up their mind. Typical of Jackson's writing, she extensively footnotes her material, creating a rich resource for further investigation. Where questions remain, she frankly admits to this.

Jackson has a knack for choosing art-related subjects that are little considered, bringing out fresh reflections and new perspectives. This is her third, general art 'themed' book. The first, Art Thieves, Fakers and Fraudsters: the New Zealand Story (1) was something of a trailblazer. She revealed largely unknown (even to New Zealanders) accounts of New Zealand art theft, reflective of international stories and trends. Her second book, Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime (2) looked at the role of females in art crime, focusing on their often different intentions from male perpetrators. To my knowledge, this topic had not previously been explored. Indeed, I am aware that it has opened up fresh perspectives for study of female criminological behaviour.

How then, does her latest book add to this field? The Art of Copying Art again, is written for general consumption. Divided into nine chapters, each one is thematic. Chapter 1, 'A Case for Copies', makes the argument for studying copies. The following chapters then develop themes. Chapter 2 'Apprentice Artists'; chapter 3 'Copies for the Colonies'; chapter 4 'Paintings-Within-Paintings'; chapter 5 'Education and Entertainment'; chapter 6 'Copies in Public Collections'; chapter 7 'Protecting the Past'; chapter 8 'Cash for Copies'; and then a summation in the last chapter, 'Afterword: Separating the Wheat from the ChafT. The substantive part of the book is some 220 pages and amply illustrated.

We tend to forget, that prior to photography, scanning and photocopying, the only way art could be known was through copies. Throughout history, many artists...

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