Fashioning the artist: artistic dress in Victorian Britain 1848-1900

Calvert, Robyne Erica (2012) Fashioning the artist: artistic dress in Victorian Britain 1848-1900. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 2012CalvertPhD.pdf] PDF
Download (2MB)
Printed Thesis Information:


My research comprises a study focused on Artistic Dress circa 1848-1900, presenting a roughly chronological survey that seeks to further our knowledge on its development, varied manifestations, and influence, both during its time and on subsequent fashion trends. While Artistic Dress is a category that is acknowledged in the current literature on fashion history, it has had limited and at times conflicting treatment. It is most often employed to describe sartorial codes in which significant arts practitioners and patrons—particularly those associated with Pre-Raphaelitism, the Arts and Crafts Movement, Aestheticism, and Art Nouveau—wore (and at times designed and promoted) clothes that were frequently labelled in contemporary literature as ‘artistic’ or ‘aesthetic’. These descriptors designated such clothing to be of a unique and creative calibre, but also outside the norm. As such, it has been a subject of interest for art and fashion historians, but usually only approached marginally within the scope of larger studies on related artistic movements, or within studies of larger fashion histories on nineteenth century dress and/or Dress Reform.

This thesis offers a closer examination of Artistic Dress than has previously been undertaken. The methodology for this research was to compile a history of the phenomenon of Artistic Dress derived from relevant primary source material, including (where possible) actual clothing, images (photographs and paintings), and text (correspondence, memoirs, and periodicals) related to selected ‘artistic dressers.’ Through this, I hope to identify whether there are in fact differences in the aforementioned related terms, and whether we might be able to position Artistic Dress as an umbrella term that is the most appropriate classification for the alternative sartorial trends found in artistic circles in Victorian Britain, offering a solution to this terminological quandary in dress history. It is hoped that in clarifying this term, other styles such as Aesthetic Dress and Reform Dress—and their relation to artistic practice—may be better understood. In this way, it is intended that this research will enrich the body of knowledge in the areas of both the History of Fashion, and of British Visual Culture.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: The electronic version of this thesis has been edited and some or all third party copyright material removed.
Keywords: Artistic dress, aesthetic dress, reform dress, art history, fashion, dress history, Arts & Crafts, Aestheticism, Aesthetic Movement, glasgow style, art, design, design history, Pre-Raphaelite, nineteenth-century art, Victorian art, Victorian fashion, British art
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
T Technology > TT Handicrafts Arts and crafts
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Supervisor's Name: Willsdon, Dr. Clare A.P.
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Dr Robyne Erica Calvert
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3279
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2012
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2015 16:37

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year