The development of the use of models in Scottish art, c.1800-1900, with special reference to painting and the Trustees’ Academy, Edinburgh

Irvine, Victoria (2015) The development of the use of models in Scottish art, c.1800-1900, with special reference to painting and the Trustees’ Academy, Edinburgh. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis suggests that a range of major and some minor Scottish nineteenth-century artists’ approaches to figurative art, c.1800-1900, were informed by, and in some cases decisively influenced by, the prevalence of naturalism as fostered by the Trustees’ Academy, Edinburgh. The Trustees’ Academy was selected as a case study for this thesis due to its prominent position in art education as a leading Scottish institution, particularly
for the first half of the nineteenth century. Despite scholars noting the far-reaching influence of certain nineteenth-century Scottish artists, such as David Wilkie, discussions of Scottish figurative painting predominantly focus on the personal development of artists’ oeuvres or artists, and grouped generally by style or chronology. Moreover, there is no dedicated published study on the nineteenth-century history of the Trustees’ Academy and
its pedagogical methods; similarly, the discussions of Scottish naturalism have formed part of larger contributions related to specific artists and movements.

This thesis presents new research from unpublished archive papers related to the Trustees’ Academy in the National Archives of Scotland, and it adopts a contextual and comparative approach by exploring the history of the TA and its pedagogical approaches in relation to wider trends in Scottish art and as relevant in England and abroad. Following discussions established by Duncan Macmillan and John Morrison, it suggests that naturalism developed in Scottish figurative painting as a conceptual motif and as a stylistic tool. The conceptual strand was rooted in poetry, which explored both the ‘Celtic’
and ‘pastoral’, with each being evocative of a romanticised, ‘natural’ way of life. This thesis proposes that naturalism, as a style, was more fully developed in the nineteenth century, in part developed by artists’ pursuit of personal depictions of Scotland’s land and people. Naturalism, as posited by this thesis, was part of Scotland’s wider search, post-Union, for its national identity within its ‘union-nationalist’ framework. By elucidating this new approach in Scottish artists’ depictions of the figure, this study aims to enhance our understanding of Scottish nineteenth-century systems of art education and approaches by artists to the model, and to contribute to research on Scottish national identity in nineteenth-century painting.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Nineteenth century, History of Art, Victorian art, Scotland, naturalism, Trustees' Academy, Edinburgh
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts
Supervisor's Name: Willsdon, Professor Clare A.P. and de Montfort, Dr. Patricia
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Dr Victoria Irvine
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6179
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 15 May 2015 14:12
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2024 08:36
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.6179

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