Art: MASTERPIECES OF BRITISH PAINTING

FROM the days of medieval manuscript illuminators to the dawn of the 18th century, Britons relied mainly on foreigners for their art. Then, in a great burst of cultural enthusiasm, the demand for-first-rate art sparked a renaissance at home, producing local talents of such high accomplishment that for 150 years Britain could claim artistic standing with any nation in Europe.

To exhibit Britain's painting of the 18th century, the British Council has assembled 86 paintings, including four owned by Queen Elizabeth II, 16 by Canadian and U.S. owners (see color pages).* Opening last month at Ottawa's National Gallery, the show will move...

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