Three Graces: Victorian Women, Visual Art and Exchange (2013)

AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship, 2013 - University of York and the V&A

Collaboration between the University of York and the V&A Museum

Funding: £40,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (Cultural Engagement Fund)

Duration: Three months from February 2013

Cultural Engagement Project Fellow: Dr Katie J. Tyreman Herrington

Collaborative Institutions: Humanities Research Centre and Department of History of Art, University of York, and Victoria & Albert Museum, London; project overseen by Professor Judith Buchanan (Director, Humanities Research Centre, University of York) and Dr. Glenn Adamson (V&A)

The Project

Making Victorian women artists' works visible:

Victorian women artists’ works are often omitted from accounts of 19th-century art, leaving an incomplete and damaged picture of artistic developments. Women artists of the period remain largely misunderstood as incidental artists whose work is considered secondary to, and imitative of, their better-known male counterparts. Edward Burne-Jones’s painting The Mill (1870-1882, V&A) - on permanent display in the Ionides Room at the V&A - depicts three women artists whose work has received next to no consideration. Three Graces makes the paintings, sculptures, textiles and costume designs of the artists depicted in The Mill - Marie Spartali Stillman, Maria Zambaco and Aglaia Coronio - visible to popular and critical audiences. It provides a unique opportunity to engage with these women’s works both together and in relation to works by their male counterparts. It demonstrates that Victorian women artists variously developed, critiqued and enabled the work of male artists, and vice versa.

Knowledge Transfer:

The Three Graces project has developed and deepened the mutually beneficial knowledge exchange partnership that has been in place between the University of York’s History of Art Department and the Victoria & Albert Museum since 2010. Both consolidating and extending the partnership between institutions by building on the existing scholar exchange programme. Dr. Katie J. T. Herrington’s project at the V&A brings into focus an under-studied, but crucial, field of the arts and humanities, fostered through teaching and research at University of York. Through a series of project-related events, her work has opened up possibilities for involvement and enrichment at the V&A for a wider network of the York research community (including those in History of Art, Women’s Studies and Nineteenth-Century Studies) and for the wider public.

The project culminated in an online exhibition hosted on the History of Art Research Portal (Department of History of Art, University of York).  The exhibition was launched at the York Festival of Ideas with a lecture by Dr Herrington and a digital projection of the virtual display so that for one day the exhibition could be experienced within a physical space.

Outcomes:

The project culminated in an online exhibition, which is hosted on the History of Art Research Portal (Department of History of Art, University of York).  The exhibition was launched at the York Festival of Ideas with a lecture by Dr Herrington and a digital projection of the virtual display so that for one day the exhibition could be experienced within a physical space.

Dr Herrington took part in a V&A podcast on 'Women Artists'.

Main image: Edward Coley Burne-Jones, The Mill: Girls Dancing to Music by a River, 1870, oil on canvas http://bit.ly/2ryVQEH © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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