The discourse of the 'British School' which took shape around 1800 was both a step towards, and a means of apprehending the anticipation of, the artistic field in its modern formation. This chapter elaborates the regulations surrounding entry into the Schools and progression through them, in which works of art submitted for assessment were always judged 'blind'. As the opening lines of the most recent biography of the painter William Etty assert: 'Anyone in early nineteenth-century England deciding to enter upon a career as an artist was bound to look to the Royal Academy for training, opportunities and recognition. There was a clear sense among Etty's contemporaries, and which has remained among art historians ever since, that Etty's untiring dedication to the study of the Academic nude presented a challenge to conventional taste, and an interpretative problem.
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