A beautifully illustrated art history and cultural biography, The Street of Wonderful Possibilities focuses on one of the most influential artistic quarters in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – London’ s Tite Street, where a staggering amount of talent thrived, including James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Oscar Wilde and John Singer Sargent.
For Wilde, the street was full of ‘ wonderful possibilities’ , while for Whistler it was ‘ the birthplace of art’ , where a new brand of aestheticism was nurtured in his controversial White House. Modern masterpieces in art and literature flowed from the studios and houses of Tite Street, but this bohemian enclave had a dark side as well. Here Whistler was bankrupted, Frank Miles was sent to an asylum, Wilde was imprisoned, and Peter Warlock was gassed to death.
Throughout its turbulent existence, Tite Street mirrored the world around it. From the Aesthetic movement and its challenge to Victorian values, through the Edwardian struggle for women’ s suffrage, to the bombs of the Blitz in the 1940s, it remained home to innumerable artists and writers, socialites and suffragettes, musicians and madmen. The Street of Wonderful Possibilities reveals this complex history, tying together private and professional lives to form a colourful tapestry of art and intrigue, illuminating their relationships to each other, to Tite Street and to a rapidly modernising London at the fin de siè cle.
DEVON COX is a writer and historian. Originally from the United States, Devon first moved to Chelsea in 2005 where he developed a strong interest in the area and its artistic heritage. He has worked for the Imperial War Museum and Sotheby's. The Street of Wonderful Possibilities is his first book.
'Devon Cox’s beautifully written book is not only a scholarly and entertaining description of a vanished world but also a valuable work of reference.'
‘Cox bounces back and forth across Tite Street, rallying his subjects like characters in a high-class soap opera... an assured and dazzling debut.'
'This is a well-researched, and eminently readable biography of one street in London, whose occupants make up a dramatis personae of outstanding talent over a period of 120 years... The result, with a red ribbon tastefully tied around it, would make a lovely box of chocolates.'
'This exceptionally handsome and well-illustrated book - a biography of the street, its residents and their connections - elucidates some of those possibilities. And pretty wonderful they are too.'
' A well-informed, nicely produced and generously illustrated book about Title Street in merrier, cheaper times, when it could claim to be the epicentre of art in England.'
' This colourful account reanimates the street and affirms its cultural importance.'
'Well-researched and highly readable book.'
'This book is a fascinating and absorbing record of a time when Chelsea was at the edge of avant-garde.'
'This is much more than a coffee-table effort. It gives a fascinating, street-level perspective on a period when art mattered to high society, when jobbing architects could marry royal mistresses and when a penniless Italian caricaturist could find himself dining at Buckingham Palace.'
' This beautifully illustrated history of London's answer to the Left Bank would make a wonderful present for art lovers.'
‘ Cox has done an admirable job of marshalling his material...The books is well populated with the voices of its protagonists and their critics, lending it a rich anecdotal texture and allowing the great egos of Tite Street to speak for themselves. “ Mighty swells dwell here,” wrote the American author Benjamin Ellis Martin in 1889, “ and here pose some famous farceurs in art and literature.” ’
‘ a fascinating, entertaining, well researched book… highly recommended.’
'This street became centre of London's fin-de-siecle art scene, which the historian Devon Cox has made the basis of an engrossing, detailed and somewhat melancholy group biography. Three titans of the era naturally dominate its pages, though in the background swells a lively and ever-changing cast of artists major and minor, muses, models, critics, princes and paupers, actors, rent boys, property speculators and assorted other villains.'
‘ A beautifully illustrated cultural biography.’
‘ This is an extraordinarily well-conceived, structured and produced book with all the pictures you could want, where you want them… An important book.’
‘ Cox bounces back and forth across Tite Street, rallying his subjects like characters in a high-class soap opera... an assured and dazzling debut.'
'Devon Cox’ s beautifully written book is not only a scholarly and entertaining description of a vanished world but also a valuable work of reference.'