Talk:John Boydell/GA1

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GA Review[edit]

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A very well written and comprehensive article. The prose is excellent (I might even go so far as to call it brilliant), and the article seems well balanced. For FAC I might enquire whether there was perhaps more information available than is covered in the current article, but that's certainly not an issue for GAN.

Below are some suggestions for improvement:

General[edit]

  • The prose is exceptionally good, but in places it borders on too good: this is an encyclopedia, it's supposed to have somewhat dry prose. :-)
  • The references use the abbreviation “Qtd.” which seems needlessly obtuse. It would be preferable to spell it out as “Quoted in” or “Given in”.
  • Three of the entries in the Bibliography lack author information; the first two appear obviously to be John Boydell, and the last gives “F. H. W. Sheppard (General Editor)” if you follow the given link.
    • Boydell wasn't the author of the first two - he was the publisher. There isn't really an author. I've fixed the Shepherd entry. Awadewit (talk) 04:01, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Isn't he the author of the book even if he isn't the artist of the pictures in it (being the publisher does not exclude the possibility that you're the author)? Unless I've much misunderstood something here, I would suggest giving Boydell as the author. --Xover (talk) 10:43, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
        • I've never really seen him credited as the author or even the editor. He isn't listed as such on the title pages of the various publications. He is really the publisher. Awadewit (talk) 18:28, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
          • If you follow to the ISBN link to, say, Amazon.com or Worldcat, you'll see the authors listed as John and Josiah Boydell. The common practice for collections of works from various artists is to list the person responsible for the collection or selection as author or editor. --Xover (talk) 20:03, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
            • I am hesitant to rely on those sources, though, as they are obviously wrong in many instances. Amazon is notorious for not caring about the accuracy of its bibliographic information and Worldcat, if you notice, lists Shakespeare as an author. I tend to stick with who is listed on the title page of the actual work itself. As no author or editor is listed, I feel that this is the best route to follow. Awadewit (talk) 01:40, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
              • I think you're looking at this the wrong way; what's important isn't what it says on the cover (even though that may be convenient) but what the sources say about who performed the various tasks. In this case, John and Josiah Boydell have published the book, and performed the task of editing the book prior to publication. There is then nothing strange or controversial about giving Boydell as the Editor in the bibliographical information. Quite the contrary, leaving it out seems quite strange.
                In any case, if you won't fill in an author I would strongly suggest simply deleting the “—” you use to indicate author unknown: that convention is sufficiently frequently used on Wikipedia to indicate “author is the same as for the previous book listed” that it cannot but create confusion. --Xover (talk) 09:43, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
                  • I've removed the dashes. Awadewit (talk) 15:40, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • The DNB is listed among the sources in the Bibliography, but at least one of the references refers not to that entry but rather describes “Qtd. in DNB entry on Boydell by "C. M."” For consistency, this should be “Quoted in C.M.”.
  • Both Clayton and West lead to a paywall/subscribers-only site. I would suggest removing these links (there's no good reason why Wikipedia should provide free advertising for business models based on locking up information), or at the very least to make note that the links require subscription.
    • I agree with you, but there seems to be a consensus about linking when possible, so I've added "subscription required". Awadewit (talk) 04:01, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • After reading the article I'm still not sure why he “died nearly bankrupt”.
    • On further consideration I've retracted this point: it's clear from the article, it's just not emphasised quite to my personal preference. --Xover (talk) 18:01, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • The image at File:John Boydell by Sir William Beechey.jpg is currently (one of several) involved in a copyright dispute.
    • We should go on using these images, I think, until the dispute is resolved. If the images are deleted, then I'll find a replacement. I think it would be a bad idea if we started removing them from articles. Then the copyright terrorists would have won. :) Awadewit (talk) 04:01, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • The image at File:Boydell-Thames.png is of very poor quality and should be cropped and have its perspective corrected.
    • I wish I could find a better copy, I agree. I'm not sure what you mean by how to crop it. Awadewit (talk) 04:01, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
      • The current image file has a lot of dead space around the edges (current is 1,856 × 1,066 pixels, a cropped version is 1,447 × 840) and as you can see the scan or photo of the original print was taken at an angle which means the perspective is skewed. I've uploaded an example cropped and perspective-adjusted version at File:Boydell-Thames cropped.png just to illustrate what I mean. --Xover (talk) 10:43, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
        • I'm confused as to why we would eliminate the white space. Boydell published these prints with all of this white space. Isn't that something we should maintain, then? Awadewit (talk) 18:29, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
          • Unless you have some special reason to believe Boydell cared about the surrounding whitespace, I very much doubt even he would have considered the random amount of margin that the ratio of the print to the size of the book dictated as particularly related to the print itself. Also, the book—or even a picture to hang on your wall—are also very different mediums to Wikipedia: the framing you'd choose for hanging on your wall is not at all suited for use in an encyclopedia article (the image box provides the framing here).
            One should also consider that our primary goal is to serve the reader above the artist: while I very much agree one should not, say, flip an image horizontally to get around MOS:IMAGE's subject should look towards the text provision, in the case of smaller adjustments such as cropping, perspective, or color correction, especially where the problems are artifacts of the scan and not really parts of the original work, an excessive zeal in “preserving” the original is misplaced. Incidentally, I say that with Edmund Malone's whitewash (literal) of Shakespeare's bust in Holy Trinity—thinking he was “restoring” it to its original state, hubris not being among his many limitations—firmly in mind. Look at the two versions of the image: in the original you can barely see some gray smudge, while in the cropped version you can actually see that this is a lanscape across a river. The reader will only have about 180 pixels of thumbnail (this being the default size for thumbnails, and the MOS discourages setting a larger size in the article) and when 20% of that space used up for a big white (actually, blank) border and the actual print squeezed into a tiny square in the middle of it, you might as well leave the picture out altogether. I've added un-scaled thumbnails to the examples below (you'll need to either log out or set your prefs back to defaults to see it, if you've messed with your thumbnail prefs).
            Finally, I'll note that cropping and correcting scans and photos of original artworks is one of the services the “open community” (i.e. Wikipedia) can provide to museums and cultural institutions as an incentive to provide their databases under an open license, according to (too lazy to check, but iirc it was…) Durova (whom I believe you've relied on in the past as an expert in image related matters on Wikipedia). See the latest issue of the Signpost for some more details. --Xover (talk) 20:03, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
            • Since I have no idea whether or not Boydell thought these white spaces were important, I defaulted to leaving them. How about we use the cropped versions and link to the uncropped versions on the image pages? One of the good things about Wikipedia is that we can show the changes online. No information need be lost. Awadewit (talk) 01:44, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
              • Well, I did the cropped version as an illustrative example—so it would be prudent to get someone competent to check the modifications before actually using them in the article—but that approach would be my suggestion, yes. --Xover (talk) 09:59, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
                • This is such a low-quality image that I don't think I could anyone competent to look at it. :) Added cropped version to article. Awadewit (talk) 15:40, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
                    • I've just replaced the image with this, which is a better image anyway. Awadewit (talk) 17:25, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
original
cropped
original
cropped
  • Given the extent to which the article relies on Bruntjen and Friedman, and the high incidence of overlap between individual references, I would suggest combining these references to a greater degree (i.e. keeping separate cites to Bruntjen p.9, p.9–11, p.10–11, p.10, etc. etc. seems to confuse rather than elucidate the sources).
    • Several pages means that information on a particular topic can be found across all of those pages while a single page means only on that page. Awadewit (talk) 04:01, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Right, but the point of the references is to make the information in the article verifiable. It's a balancing act between absolute precision (page 9, line 4) and the other extreme (just give the author and title of the book, maybe not even inline citations); and here, giving a range of three or so pages that supports several things in the article, versus the impenetrable number of almost identical references to Bruntjen and Friedman, might be an aid to the reader. It's not a big issue, but worth keeping in mind. --Xover (talk) 10:43, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
        • Let me know whether you would like to address this point or would prefer to leave well enough alone. --Xover (talk) 18:06, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
          • I think I'll just leave this as is. Awadewit (talk) 16:26, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Lede[edit]

  • Boydell apprenticed himself to an artist he admired and learned engraving.” While I understand the reasoning behind not getting into too much detail in the lede, not naming the relevant artist here seems a bit odd.
    • It is William Henry Toms. Since he is redlinked and every once in a while I get flack for having redlinks in the lead, I didn't mention the name. Let me know whether you think I should do here. Awadewit (talk) 04:12, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
      • I'm as instinctively biased against redlinks as the next editor, but there's nothing wrong with redlinks and here the importance of giving the name outweighs the æstethic concern over the redlink in the lede, IMO. --Xover (talk) 11:28, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Boydell did not think much of his own artistic efforts and eventually started buying the works of others,” This phrasing seems to imply a causal relationship, but one that is not clear based on this sentence and its immediate context. I expect the strategic insertion of a “while” or “but” in there might alleviate the problem.
    • Suggested revision: Boydell did not think much of his own artistic efforts and therefore eventually started buying the works of others. Awadewit (talk) 04:12, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Hmm, that's better; but as I comment below, the key point is the purpose of trading in the prints: that his own drawings suck does not ipso facto lead to trading in prints. Some way to indicate that he's doing it to supplement his income, or to pursue his interest in the medium / art despite lacking aptitude for drawing, or some other such explanation of why he starts trading instead of just giving up and going home. --Xover (talk) 11:28, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
        • In Boydell's case, his own poor artistic skills did indeed lead him to trading in prints. Awadewit (talk) 15:46, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Frustrated by the French's refusal to trade prints in kind, Boydell commissioned a truly spectacular print to get their attention. William Wollett's engraving of Richard Wilson's Children of Niobe revolutionized the print trade.” It's not immediately clear that the prints in these two sentences are one and the same. Perhaps introduce the print in the first sentence (e.g. as being by Wollett) and add detail in the second, so that the two sentences are more obviously connected. As an alternative, replacing the period with a colon would take care of it, if you can stand the monster length of the resulting sentence.
    • Suggested revision: Frustrated by the French's refusal to trade prints in kind, Boydell commissioned William Wollett's spectacular engraving of Richard Wilson's Children of Niobe, revolutionizing the print trade. Awadewit (talk) 04:12, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
      • That works (but expect the pedants at FAC to complain about that multi-clause sentence in the context of the Brilliant prose clause). --Xover (talk) 11:28, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Frustrated by the French's refusal to trade prints in kind” Incidentally, this phrasing suggests the topic of the French refusal has been discussed in the text previously, so that this sentence refers back to something the reader has already seen. It can stand as it is, but if the text will bear it, introducing the French refusal before referring to it would make for less cognitive acrobatics for the reader. This, of course, is here a problem unique to the lede where brevity is paramount.
    • At least the importing and trading of prints with the French has been mentioned before. See if the revision above makes the whole thing flow better. Awadewit (talk) 04:12, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
      • The problem here is that the phrasing makes the reader look back for a sentence that says “The French refused to trade in kind.” It apparently refers to an established fact, without actually establishing that fact. Note that were I writing a personal essay or something like that, I might well choose that very phrasing: it's not incorrect or logically inconsistent—not wrong, per se—it just runs afoul of the conditioned cognitive process of the reader. Since this and the following sentence have some other issues, it might be worth exploring whether to turn this into three sentences (the first of which can establish that the French refused &c.) with breaks between sentences adjusted accordingly (and possibly avoiding the long multi-clause sentence above). As mentioned, I think this is going to be an issue at FAC; but to my understanding it's not something that absolutely has to be addressed to pass under the GAC. Since I know you're short of time right now, perhaps it would be best to just leave it as is for now and just keep it in mind for later? --Xover (talk) 11:28, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
        • New version: He became a successful importer of French prints during the 1750s but was frustrated by their refusal to trade prints in kind. To spark reciprocal trade, he commissioned William Wollett's spectacular engraving of Richard Wilson's Children of Niobe, which revolutionized the print trade. Ten years later, largely as a result of Boydell's initiative, the trade imbalance had shifted, and he was named a fellow of the Royal Society for his efforts. Awadewit (talk) 15:53, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Some of the most illustrious painters of the day contributed, such as Benjamin West and Henry Fuseli,” The placement of the examples is a bit awkward, but I see that the alternative—putting a single word between two commas—is equally problematic. Perhaps this should be tackled a completely different way?
    • What do you think about simply removing the examples? Awadewit (talk) 04:12, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Hmm. I think the examples are important, and the placement of the commas is somewhat pedantic. I would suggest either living with the single word clause or just leaving the sentence as it stands. --Xover (talk) 11:28, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
        • Sentence now ends with examples with new revisions. Awadewit (talk) 16:02, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Boydell died nearly bankrupt in 1804.” A sentence or so explaining what led to this sad state of affairs would not be excessive here.
    • Suggested revision: As a result of the dramatic decline in Continental trade during the French Revolutionary Wars, Boydell died nearly bankrupt in 1804. Awadewit (talk) 04:12, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Hmm. How about something like The French Revolutionary Wars led to a large decline in Continental trade, and Boydell, reliant on this trade for his main profits, was nearly bankrupt when he died in 1804.? It's a bit verbose for the lede, but it makes explicit the connection between the decline in trade and Boydell's financial troubles. --Xover (talk) 11:28, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
        • New revision: The French Revolutionary Wars led to a cessation in Continental trade at the end of the 1790s and without this business, Boydell's firm declined and he was nearly bankrupt at his death in 1804. Awadewit (talk) 16:02, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Early years[edit]

  • Boydell resolved to sail to the East Indies in hopes of making his fortune, but he abandoned the scheme in favour of returning to Flintshire.” Why?
    • As far as I remember, the sources do not elaborate on this point. Awadewit (talk) 00:53, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Boydell saw a print of Hawarden Castle by William Henry Toms and was so delighted with it that he immediately set out again for London in order to learn printmaking” Given the latter part of the sentence indicates that this was a pivotal moment that changed his entire life (and England's art history), the choice of “delighted” to describe his reaction seems somewhat of an understatement.
    • Suggested revision: "enamoured"? Awadewit (talk) 00:53, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
      • While I do prefer enamoured of to delighted with, and the former is certainly more emphatic, I suspect at that point we're merely attempting to satisfy my personal whim. Do the sources support expounding along the lines “It affected him deeply. It had that effect because […]. As a result he decided to learn printmaking.”? If the sources do not support further explication the sentence can stand; I just found it incongruously subtle that such a pivotal moment slipped by in the single word “delighted”. --Xover (talk) 11:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
        • Here is Boydell's own account of the event. I think delighted is more appropriate, but you decide: "A large Print of Hawarden Castle and the Country adjacent drawn by Mr. Badeslade and engraved by Wm. Harry Toms in London was just finished. I admired it to a great degree, finding it was an employment that many have got a livelihood by—I thought I should like to Follow the art of Engraving. My Friends enquired of Mr. Badeslade relating to my wishes, wrote to Mr. Toms who offered to take me on trial." Awadewit (talk) 16:17, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
          • Hmm, well… That does indeed not leave much room for explication. Unless the secondary sources provide further interpretation I suppose the current approach is about the only feasible one. This given, if you prefer delighted then I think you should go with that: there is little value in making changes just to satisfy my subjective preference in this choice of word. --Xover (talk) 17:35, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • topographical prints that cost six pence or one shilling.” Did the buyer have a choice of prices, or are you translating between denominations? In either case the questions presents itself: why?
    • There were cheap prints (six pence) and expensive prints (one shilling). Can you suggest a better wording? Awadewit (talk) 00:53, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
      • You might simply change it to say “…that cost between six pence and one shilling.” or you could change cheap/expensive to describe what the actual differences were and phrase it as “…that cost six pence, for a cheap print, or one shilling for an expensive print.”. --Xover (talk) 11:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
        • Changed to that cost six pence for a cheap print or one shilling for an expensive print. Awadewit (talk) 16:17, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
          • Even better would be to explain what the actual differences between the cheap print and the more expensive one were. --Xover (talk) 17:35, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • The third paragraph of this section needs citations for its first and last sentence; or, if appropriate, the reference on the middle sentence should be moved to the end of the paragraph. It's currently unclear what's covered by that reference, and it looks like the first and last sentences are uncited.
    • Note moved to cover entire paragraph. Awadewit (talk) 16:17, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Around 1747, Boydell published his first major work, The Bridge Book: he drew and cut each print himself.” The colon feels misplaced here: the first part of the sentence does not lead to the second. Perhaps you could connect the two parts with an “and” or a “where”?
    • Suggested revision: Around 1747, Boydell published his first major work, The Bridge Book, for which he drew and cut each print himself. Awadewit (talk) 00:53, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Yup, that works. --Xover (talk) 11:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
  • A year later, in 1748, Boydell, apparently financially secure, married Elizabeth Lloyd. The couple did not have any children and Elizabeth died in 1781.” 1) that first sentence is a convoluted mess of commas, and connects marriage and finances in a way that is not immediately obvious to everyone; 2) the wife seems to show up here, somewhat non sequitur in the context, and departs without further comment, having apparently had no impact on her husband whatsoever. I wonder if this should not be expanded to a para of its own, or possibly left as a dangling single sentence somewhere after being untangled a little.
    • Suggested revision: A year later, Boydell apparently felt financially secure enough to marry Elizabeth Lloyd. The couple did not have any children and Elizabeth died in 1781. - I dislike single-sentence paragraphs, so I would like to try and retain this as part of the paragraph. See if you think it flows better now. Awadewit (talk) 00:57, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Yes, that structure is better. However, it now becomes obvious that we're talking about the wedding and the poor bride hasn't even been introduced to us yet: it's like she's a non-person, a prop, in her husband's life (which may, of course, be how she's treated by the sources). From the perspective of the reader the question becomes “Who is this person to him? His fiancé? When did they meet? Did they live together? Who is she? A pauper? A lady? An artist? What was their relationship like? Did it affect her husband's work?” etc. Since I suspect addressing those concerns will require a deep-dive in the sources, let me suggest that the shortcut for simply fixing this sentence is to insert “Boydell apparently felt financially secure enough to marry his highschool sweetheart/current mistress/long-time fiancé/etc. Elizabeth Lloyd.” Provided I've accurately grasped the distinction between the GA criteria's 3(a) and the FA criteria's 1(b), that's all that's actually necessary here.
        Incidentally, while I am also not fond of single-sentence paragraphs, I think them preferable to muddled and disjointed paragraphs that do not adhere, at least roughly, to the one line of thought per paragraph rule. Splitting them out makes obvious that here is something that needs further work (expand sentence to full para) or that needs to be cut entire; if one leaves them in a paragraph where they have no logical business one merely addresses the more superficial aesthetic concern and hides the underlying problem. --Xover (talk) 11:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
        • I've added every last scrap of information on Elizabeth Lloyd to the article. Hopefully she doesn't come out of the blue now. There is a bit of a story now - she's waiting and then they get married after he has the money. Here are the bits I added. Awadewit (talk) 16:22, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
          • Ah, yes. The later mention doesn't seem as random now. --Xover (talk) 17:35, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • “printshops” Is this really one word?
    • Yes. Awadewit (talk) 00:53, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
      • The OED suggests this is an Americanism, and even in American English it is spelled as two words about half the time. --Xover (talk) 11:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
        • Changed to two words. Awadewit (talk) 16:17, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • He was not subject to the whims of public taste: if his engravings did not sell well, he bought and sold the prints of other artists.” While I understand what this sentence is trying to tell me, it takes a little extra effort to reason it out. Perhaps work in some words to the effect that he “could fall back on” or “supplement with”? And there's a special terminology for the act of both buying and selling, namely “trade in”. :-)
    • Suggested revision: He was not subject to the whims of public taste: if his engraves did not sell well, he could supplement his earnings by trading in the prints of other artists. Awadewit (talk) 01:02, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Yes, that works well. --Xover (talk) 11:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Success[edit]

  • larger premises at 90 Cheapside” Is that a postcode? Apartment number? And what's the significance of the move? The following sentences mention nothing about what he did at the larger premises, whether they enabled him to do new or different things, or even if it just raised his rent.
    • There is no information on that in the sources that I remember, but 90 Cheapside is where Boydelll's firm remained until his death, so I thought it was worth mentioning. I assume "90" is the number of the building. Awadewit (talk) 22:56, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Hmm. The sentence sticks out somewhat like a sore thumb there, and the ambiguousness of the address is the least part of that. It doesn't really fit in this paragraph, and it certainly doesn't fit at the end of the previous section. That it is specified here and then never mentioned again suggests it should simply be removed; but I agree that it is probably significant. Unless you can dig up something more on this point from the sources, my best suggestion is to just leave it and hope an opportunity to rectify the problem will present itself in the future. --Xover (talk) 00:11, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
        • We do mention it in the caption at the end of the article. Awadewit (talk) 16:38, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • the undisputed masters of engraving during the eighteenth century—the French” Perhaps a colon rather than an mdash?
  • Boydell made a small fortune in the 1750s off of these imported prints.” Really? :-)
    • Changed to "from". Awadewit (talk) 22:56, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
  • In order to inaugurate this change” Does one inaugurate a change? Was there a ceremony? I'll accept an argument that the word is apt—and references the print in the second clause—but I fear that may be too subtle for the average reader.
    • Inaugurate. I don't think so. Ceremonies aren't always required. Awadewit (talk) 22:56, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Hey, as a student of Shakespeare I'm all for language as a malleable thing; but while the order of the definitions in the first listing of your link above (Random House) might leave wriggle room for this usage, if you scroll down to the second set of definitions (American Heritage, 4th) you'll note it stresses the formal and ceremonial aspect of it. And the OED lists 5 senses of this word, three of which stress the formal and ceremonial (the last two are an obsolete usage related to religious investment and a rare usage meaning to sanctify or consecrate). Take a look at wikt:inaugurate; the word strongly connotes a formal beginning marked by a ceremony or ceremonial action. You can get away with it (as mentioned, I'm all for language as a malleable thing), but then you're being innovative in your use (which is not generally considered a good thing for an encyclopedia). --Xover (talk) 00:11, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
        • I'm not inclined to change this as there is nothing particularly innovative about using a definition listed in the dictionary. Awadewit (talk) 16:38, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
          • It seems we will have to agree to disagree on this point then. --Xover (talk) 17:40, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • (Around this time Boydell stopped engraving any prints himself and began exclusively relying on commissions.[15])” This free-floating parenthetical is awkward. First of all, having a complete sentence in parenthesis is a warning that one is compensating for a lack of a footnote facility. Second, the sentence has no obvious relationship with the surrounding prose. Either move it to a footnote (and I'm not entirely sure where one would attach it) or integrate it properly into the prose as the second sentence of the following paragraph (or something along those lines). Incidentally, is that parenthetical even correct? A little earlier we learn that he does quite a bit of trading (an activity distinct from commissioning prints): has he now given up on that?
  • (see below)” I really dislike such references in the text. If it's absolutely necessary, do it via an internal link to the relevant section of the article. (the sentence also appears to lack a comma)
  • the instigator of this stunning economic reversal” He was a political agitator? Why has this aspect not been covered in the article? :-)
    • Instigator - I thought he did "urge, provoke, or incite to some action or course" - you don't think so? Awadewit (talk) 23:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
      • As with inaugurate above, you can obviously get away with it, but it would be somewhat of a non-standard usage (to what degree, one may reasonably disagree). The word generally has a strong negative connotation. Every example given—both Random House and American Hertiage on reference.com, OED, and wikt:instigate—carries a negative meaning: Commonly used with reference to evil actions; as, to instigate one to a crime. (Wiktionary). An apt quote from the OED would be: 1747 Johnson Plan Eng. Dict. Wks. 1787 IX. 185 “Commonly, though not always, we exhort to good actions, we instigate to ill.” (other examples in the OED entry include murder, injustice, and sin). --Xover (talk) 00:11, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
        • This is more convincing than "inaugurate" above. Replaced with "agent of". Awadewit (talk) 16:38, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
          • Incidentally, in an entirely informal and unscientific ad hoc poll, the usage here was considered significantly less problematic than the above use of inaugurate. :-) --Xover (talk) 17:40, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Gold Medal for his services in forwarding the print trade” The word “forwarding” feels… awkward here. Was it copied from the source?
    • I don't remember. Changed to "advancing". Awadewit (talk) 23:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Shakespeare venture[edit]

  • The idea of a grand Shakespeare edition, it is agreed among scholars, was conceived…” If it is agreed among scholars, why does that need to be pointed out? Is there some text regarding a point over which the scholars disagree missing here? Is the point controversial? Is there uncertainty? Lack of evidence?
    • Other points regarding this venture do not have this agreement. For example: Most sources also list the painter Paul Sandby. Although the initial idea for the edition was more than likely not Boydell's, he was the one to seize and pursue it. - Notice the "most sources" and "more than likely" - this phrasing was intentionally added because of source disagreement and uncertainty in the evidence. Awadewit (talk) 18:16, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
      • It is redundant to point out that scholars agree; if they did not the material would not be here or it would indicate the disagreement. I would suggest you remove this clause entire. --Xover (talk) 20:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
  • more than likely” That's rather an imprecise way of putting it.
    • We are not sure - there are conflicting first-person accounts of the dinner at which the idea was proposed, all self-serving. Scholars take these self-serving primary accounts and say "It was probably Boydell who came up with the idea." Awadewit (talk) 18:16, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Then it would probably be better to simply say probably. More than likely just sounds as if you're trying to slip an OR or SYN past. --Xover (talk) 20:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
        • Changed to "probably". Awadewit (talk) 16:47, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
  • He wanted to use the edition to facilitate the development of a British school of history painting. He wrote in the "Preface" to the folio that he wanted "to advance that art towards maturity, and establish an English School of Historical Painting".” These two sentences say essentially the same thing.
    • Removed second sentence. Awadewit (talk) 18:16, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
  • This unusual practice” Was it? I know Malone and a few other contemporaries used this model as a matter of course.
    • So sayeth the source. Awadewit (talk) 18:16, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
      • I would suggest checking the sources to see whether this is an imprecise formulation or an expression of temporal provinciality on the part of the relevant author. Publishing by subscription appears to have been an entirely standard practice. While a little later in period, at least Edmund Malone (1741–1812) and James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps (1820–1889)—to name two relevant examples I'm familiar with—appear to have done a significant proportion, if not the majority, of their publications by subscription. --Xover (talk) 20:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
        • I've removed the word "unusual". I know I had a source for that (I also remember thinking it was an unusual statement), but I must have forgotten to add it in and I can't find it any longer. Oh well. Awadewit (talk) 16:37, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
  • There is another parenthetical here for which the same comments as previously hold.
    • Added sentence to footnote. Awadewit (talk) 18:16, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
  • it was reissued throughout the nineteenth century” More out of curiosity than anything else, is an edition of it currently or recently in print?
    • There is a Dover edition cited in the bibliography. Awadewit (talk) 18:16, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Thanks. --Xover (talk) 20:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Civic service[edit]

  • Boydell was infused with a seemingly unlimited civic spirit” Is this a quote or paraphrase of the source? Could it be either put in quote marks or toned down to a more neutral formulation?
    • Changed to "dedicated". Awadewit (talk) 18:23, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Infused still feels excessively colorful for an encyclopedia to me. --Xover (talk) 20:32, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
        • Could you suggest an alternative? Awadewit (talk) 16:52, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
          • Well, I might actually prefer posessed of to infused with but that probably falls foul of the same problem. How about simply His civic spirit was significant: … or With a dedicated civic spirit he took …? --Xover (talk) 17:55, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
            • Revised version: With both a dedicated civic spirit and an eye towards business promotion, Boydell took advantage of his public positions to advocate public and private patronage of the arts. Awadewit (talk) 16:30, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
  • He continually donated paintings” Frequently or regularly, perhaps?
    • Changed to "frequently". Awadewit (talk) 18:23, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Most of the other works Boydell donated were similarly didactic. Boydell was appealed to his artisanal audience with these gifts.” This language is too advanced for me. I can not understand these two sentences.
    • Suggested revision: Most of other works Boydell donated were similarly didactic. He was appealing to his fellow tradespeople and craftspeople with these gifts, a middle class which would have been only too pleased to see their values promoted such a prominent figure. Awadewit (talk) 18:23, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Much better. However, I think we must consider the word didactic a specialist term here (even if wikilinked). Even after reading its definition I'm left wondering whether you mean that the gifts were meant to promote the relevant values, promote art to the middle-class, or self-servingly promote himself as an artist to the middle class. I'm also not crazy about “tradespeople/craftspeople”—tradesmen/craftsmen being the more common, if slightly archaic, variation—because it feels like an artificially gender-neutral word to me; but that may of course just be my fragile male-chauvinist ego coloring my perceptions. --Xover (talk) 20:32, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
        • "Didactic" isn't a specialist term and it perfectly encapsulates the meaning here, so I am very reluctant to change it. The sentences deliberately signify all three meanings you listed. "Artisan" is better than "tradespeople and craftspeople" as it encompasses both terms and isn't as artificial, but it is a less obvious word. Awadewit (talk) 16:52, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
          • I think Didactic here fails the “plain English” test, but that can easily be attributed to an insufficiency on my part. For the latter point, how about rephrasing as “He was appealing to his fellows in the trades and crafts with these gifts …”? --Xover (talk) 17:55, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
            • That seems very awkward to me. Awadewit (talk) 16:31, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Business decline, death, and legacy[edit]

  • specifically French” Specifically, or especially?


Hopefully these suggestions will be useful in further improving the article. --Xover (talk) 01:55, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Thank you for your very thorough review. I am leaving town in two days. I will try to finish everything before then, but if I don't, could we keep the article on hold for longer than the seven days to allow me to finish addressing your comments when I return? I would appreciate it. Awadewit (talk) 12:19, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Mais oui, chère Awadewit, bien entendu. It is not a problem. Incidentally, my apologies for not getting to this review sooner: I have the article watchlisted and saw the nomination, but regrettably have had no time to do anything about it until now. --Xover (talk) 12:57, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Thank you so much! I'm going to go through all of your review comments and then start responding to your follow-ups. Again, this might take me some time. Thanks again for your thoughtful replies! Awadewit (talk) 00:45, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks for letting me know. --Xover (talk) 11:08, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Nothing. Just a `mo and I'll finish the pass process. --Xover (talk) 17:17, 22 July 2009 (UTC)