Hunger Hill Press

News Release

Art connoisseurship in the nineteenth century

By the early nineteenth century, Britain had become a treasure house of art. But many of the paintings acquired by aristocrats during their Grand Tours were not, as their owners believed, by the great artists of the Italian Renaissance - some were copies, some were outright forgeries, and many more were wrongly attributed.

Because art scholarship was in its infancy, questions of attribution, authenticity, and quality were rarely asked and, if they were, would be unlikely to receive an authoritative answer. The private collections of Britain’s aristocracy were the undiscovered and uncharted territories of the art world and were just waiting to be explored.

A Question of Attribution describes this remarkable cultural journey involving some of the world’s great paintings. A new breed of professional art connoisseur began to sort the wheat from the chaff, the real from the fake, and the copy from the original. At first, their answers to questions of attribution were tentative, but they began a process that would gather momentum during the nineteenth century.

A Question of Attribution offers a fascinating insight into:


Hunger Hill Press has also launched a website offering free interactive databases to anyone interested in exploring the subject further.

The databases, which are standard Excel files, cover:

A Question of Attribution provides an accessible guide to a formative period in the development of connoisseurship and art history. The legacy of nineteenth century connoisseurs can be seen today on the walls of the world’s great galleries. Many of the Italian Renaissance paintings having pride of place in these major collections were acquired during the nineteenth century – a period when connoisseurship was still an art and before it became a science.

For further information, contact: or Telephone: 01257 450 666

Notes to editors

(1) A Question of Attribution costs £25. It is available through Amazon, good booksellers, and direct from

(2) Christopher Hodkinson is a free-lance writer. He holds a doctorate from Lancaster University where he was also a Tutor in Italian Culture.

(3) High resolution images of the cover art and other media resources are available below.

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book cover

Sir Charles Eastlake portrait

Charles Eastlake

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