Costumes in the Limelight

Costumes are powerful objects, which carry multiple meanings and memories in their fibres. Through three connected blog posts, I will highlight the importance of costume for performance: revealing the insights costumes offer into the lives of the people who designed, made, wore and saw them. Commencing with Ellen Terry’s ‘Beetlewing Dress’, moving on to Edwin Moxon’s embroidered ‘shorts’, and concluding with Kitty Lord’s carefully padded ‘Symmetricals’, I will showcase the information which these unique garments offer about the performer, performance,

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Conference Report: Cosmopolitanism, Aestheticism, and Decadence, 1860-1920

Cosmopolitanism, Aestheticism, and Decadence, 1860-1920,  University of Oxford, 17-18 June 2014 Report by Katharina Herold (University of Oxford) and Eleanor Reeds (University of Connecticut) Speakers from an international range of institutions came together for a lively intellectual investigation into the agents of these movements, the means by which they achieved cultural significance, and their current relevance in times of globalized literary exchange. In his opening keynote address, Jonathan Freedman (University of Michigan) outlined the vital influence of Jewish intellectual and

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The Red House Discoveries (Or, the Wombat in the Drawing Room)

By Wendy Parkins, Kent University The exciting re-discovery of wall paintings and decorations during recent restoration work at William Morris’s Red House – as widely reported in the media this week – raises as many questions as it answers. Who painted the five Old Testament figures in the mural in the main bedroom? And why? After all, Noah holding a miniature ark doesn’t exactly say ‘honeymoon suite’, not to mention the sense of foreboding a depiction of Adam and Eve

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Sarah Parker, ‘Dressed to Impress: Fashioning the Woman Poet’

By Sarah Parker The idea for my recent article ‘Fashioning Michael Field: Michael Field and Late-Victorian Dress Culture’ originated with a trip to ‘The Cult of Beauty’ exhibition at the V&A in Spring 2011.  Among the walls crowded with Pre-Raphaelite paintings and cabinets filled with intricate, hand-bound volumes, visitors were also able to view numerous examples of male and female aesthetic dress, including a sunflower-print robe and puffed-sleeve artistic tea gowns, many of which originated from Liberty & Co. Viewing

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The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde 1860-1900

by Pearl Chaozon-Bauer University of California, Davis Upon entering “The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde 1860-1900,” an exhibit at the Legion of Honor that features art work and pieces from poets, painters, sculptors, designers and architects who produced art for the sake of art, I expected to be intoxicated and affected by the beauty that the exhibit promised to deliver.  Since these artists championed the axiom that the only purpose of art is to be beautiful, I anticipated losing

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Art vs Industry Conference Report

Rebecca Wade, University of Leeds On the 23 and 24 March 2012, early career researchers, museum professionals and established academics gathered at Leeds City Museum to offer their perspectives on the intersections between art and industry during the long nineteenth century. Day One The conference began with a keynote by Lara Kriegel (Indiana), whose paper Lace, Ladies and Labours Lost: A Meditation on Art, Industry and Craft offered an apposite introduction through the historical narratives associated with the perceived loss

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Elisha Cohn, ”One single ivory cell’: Oscar Wilde and the Brain’

Recent studies have demonstrated how new theories of materiality in the late nineteenth century shaped conceptions of everyday objects—top-hats, teapots, green carnations—yet have not extended this research to the burgeoning late-Victorian field of the neurosciences, and its conception of the mind as material. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde traces ‘the thoughts and passions of men to some pearly cell in the brain’ (280). As his notebooks from his undergraduate days at Oxford show, Wilde was fascinated by

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