In the eighteenth century, England became the richest and most powerful country in the world. From being a country divided by religious and political conflict, and in the shadow of France, England and the English became confident and self-assured, although many areas of conflict remained.
This is a rounded portrait of English culture in the eighteenth century. Not only a matter of leading writers, from Swift to, or of artists from Hogarth to Reynolds, there was also room for popular ballads, political doggerel, pornographic verse and vigorous satirical cartoons. Taste in architecture ranged from great houses with gardens to the changed use of domestic space in towns. Jeremy Black looks at the both the wealth of cultural activity in the period and at the changing patronage of and market for books, art, architecture, music and consumer goods.