Crafting the Woman Professional in the Long Nineteenth Century: Artistry and Industry in Britain
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Over the course of the nineteenth century, women in Britain participated in diverse and prolific forms of artistic labour. As they created objects and commodities that blurred the boundaries between domestic and fine art production, they crafted subjectivities for themselves as creative workers. By bringing together work by scholars of literature, painting, music, craft and the plastic arts, this collection argues that the constructed and contested nature of the female artistic professional was a notable aspect of debates about aesthetic value and the impact of industrial technologies. All the essays in this volume set up a productive inter-art dialogue that complicates conventional binary divisions such as amateur and professional, public and private, artistry and industry in order to provide a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between gender, artistic labour and creativity in the period. Ultimately, how women faced the pragmatics of their own creative labour as they pursued vocations, trades and professions in the literary marketplace and related art-industries reveals the different ideological positions surrounding the transition of women from industrious amateurism to professional artistry.
Transparencies (1806) [EXEBD70407]. Courtesy of the University of Exeter. 3.4 Muzio Clementi, Exercise in G Minor from Gradus ad Parnassum. Copyright of the British Library Board. 2.3 Cut-out paper transparency of Linlithgow Palace, c.1820 [EXEBD69267]. Courtesy of the University of Exeter. 2.4 Back-lit version of cut-out paper transparency of Linlithgow Palace, c.1820 [EXEBD69267]. Courtesy of the University of Exeter. 2.5 Decorative transparencies from Edward Orme, An Essay on Transparent
Courtesy of the University of Exeter. John Plunkett 55 Of these, the most successful was of Tintern Abbey, which, as Mary notes, survived many of their other works of art: ‘The effect of light and shade was excellent; the long perspective was accurately given; there were the broken arches, the black thickness of ivy, with the loose trails hanging here and there in the light. It was about the size of a moderate pane of glass’ (I.96–7). Mary Howitt’s transparencies indicate how they were
work its legacy. Like corporeal exercises found in conduct literature, and piano exercises in the pages of method books, the choreography of the etude calls for rigorous physical control. It stretches, shapes, moulds and contorts the pianist’s hand. And like those other genres, it does so with the promise of cultivating an improved version of the pianist at the bench – who, in my story, is a young lady. But etudes like Clementi’s also offer the pianist a resource, which, guided by her own agenda,
a Howell and James Studio Prize, won in 1881 by a Miss F.M. Minns (Monkhouse, ‘Paintings’ 401). Between 1880 and 1884 the average number of prizes exceeded 20, in addition to diplomas of merit in three classes. 6.4 Viscountess Hood, ‘The Hon. Mabel Hood’ from Magazine of Art 3 (1880): 395. Courtesy of Anne Anderson. 136 crafting the woman professional in the long nineteenth century 6.5 Charlotte H. Spiers, ‘Poppies and Tiger Lilies’ from Magazine of Art 3 (1880): 392. Courtesy of Anne
advantage of learning something of the business side of their calling, for they will be brought into contact with manufacturers and employers of labour, so that when they leave the School (whatever department of designing they may elect to make their profession) they will have learnt something of simple business ways and customs, which knowledge should prove an invaluable training to women. (527) Patricia Zakreski 161 In denying women the technical knowledge more common to men, the system of