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Now you see them, now you don't : the critical reception of women's work at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society, 1888-1916

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Now you see them, now you don't : the critical reception of women's work at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society, 1888-1916

Haskins, Heather Victoria (2005) Now you see them, now you don't : the critical reception of women's work at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society, 1888-1916. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This preliminary study of the critical reaction to the work of women practitioners in the decorative arts in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, has been undertaken in order to further an understanding of the voices which contributed to constructions of contemporary femininity. It investigates the reactions of critics to the work of 730 women who contributed to four exhibitions of the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in London, held in 1888, 1890, 1903 and 1916. The press policy of the ACES, together with the context of contemporary art criticism practices and background information on the critics and periodicals used, are set out in Chapter 1. For each exhibition, critical reaction to women's work is summarised in a section of general comments on women's exhibits, and particularised with an indepth look at the reception of Kate Faulkner, May Morris, Una Taylor, Georgina Gaskin, Grace Christie and Phoebe Stabler. Periodicals which consistently reviewed women's work were from all classes, and criticism of women's decorative arts varied widely, but certain trends emerged which revealed greater support for women designers than makers, and more praise for women designers who worked in acceptable 'feminine' mediums of embroidery, jewellery, or gesso decoration. Often women were named but their work was not discussed. Women who collaborated with their husbands also found their contributions glossed over. Some women's work was discussed with feminised language, some with both masculine and feminine terms, and some with rather gender-neutral language. Formal analysis of women's decorative art was rare. Press notices of women's work dropped significantly between 1903 and 1916, due to a combination of factors. Overall the analysis of women's press reception at ACES was facilitated by knowledge of the critic and editorial policy of the periodical.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Haskins, Heather Victoria
Pagination:vii, 432 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Art History
Date:2005
Thesis Supervisor(s):Mackenzie, Catherine
ID Code:8227
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:19
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 15:41
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