The Optickal Illusion

The Optickal Illusion Review

In this vividly fashioned debut, Rachel Halliburton draws from the sordid details of a genuine scandal that deceived the British Royal Academy to deliver a stirring tale on the elusive goal of achieving artistic renown.

It is 1797 and in Georgian London, nothing is certain anymore: the future of the monarchy is in question, the city is aflame with conspiracies, and the French could invade any day. Amidst this feverish atmosphere, the American painter Benjamin West is visited by a dubious duo comprised of a blundering father and vibrant daughter, the Provises, who claim they have a secret that has obsessed painters for centuries: the Venetian techniques of master painter Titian.

West was once the most celebrated painter in London, but he hasn’t produced anything of note in years, so against his better judgment he agrees to let the intriguing Ann Jemima Provis visit his studio and demonstrate the techniques from the document. What unravels reveals more than West has ever understood—about himself, the treachery of the art world, and the seductive promise of greatness. Rich in period detail of a meticulously crafted Georgian society, The Optickal Illusion demonstrates the lengths women must go to make their mark on a society that seeks to underplay their abilities.

Title:The Optickal Illusion
Edition Language:English

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Rebecca Foster

    (Nearly 3.5) Halliburton’s debut novel is inspired by a real-life scandal that shook the Royal Academy of Arts in the 1790s while American-born Benjamin West was its president. The descriptive langu...

  • Karen Mace

    This is a sumptuous read, stepping back to Georgian times to take a look behind the scandal that rocked the art world, deceiving so many prominent artists of the time, and looks at those behind the de...

  • Cathy

    The author has taken a real life scandal that enveloped the art world of London in the 1790s and fashioned it into an intriguing story of artistic rivalry, deception and debate about the position of w...