Creative arts

Authored by: Sam McKinstry

The Routledge Companion to Accounting History

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815375869
eBook ISBN: 9781351238885
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines studies in accounting history which involve the creative arts of architecture, literature, fine art, the graphic arts and film. It begins with a summary of the various ways in which such studies can, and have, shed light on accounting practice and the social and cultural aspects of accountancy, as well as upon the practice of the creative arts themselves and the motivation of those who carry them out. There then follows a review of the accounting history literature relating to architecture, which begins with a summary of papers and books dealing with buildings and the professionalisation of accountancy. Studies examining architectural motivation and accounting practices are also reviewed. Accounting history studies involving literature are next examined, more or less in the chronological order of the literature concerned. These reveal a wide range of facets of accounting, from the place it has occupied in society to its role in the home, as well as shedding fresh light on the literary figures whose practices and attitudes have been uncovered. The centrepiece of the chapter’s next section, which deals with fine art, is a summary of Basil Yamey’s (1989) Art and Accounting, a review of works of art which have depicted accounting and accountancy from the late-medieval period onwards. In the next section, on accounting history and the graphic arts, papers which discuss ‘ways of seeing’ annual reports and their potential for manipulation are summarised. Accounting history and film come next, and the medium’s ability to reflect and shape public attitudes to accounting is examined. The chapter concludes by suggesting and speculating upon possible future trajectories for accounting history studies concerning the creative arts.

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