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A Feminist Network in an Artists’ Home: Mary and George Watts, George Meredith, and Josephine Butler

Rose, L (2016) A Feminist Network in an Artists’ Home: Mary and George Watts, George Meredith, and Josephine Butler Journal of Victorian Culture, 21 (1). pp. 74-91.

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Abstract

This interdisciplinary, historicist-feminist paper (combining literary and art historical perspectives as well as an awareness of historical context and an application of recent feminist theory) explores the feminist affiliations of the Victorian artists Mary and George Watts, focusing specifically on their close friendships with the writer and women’s suffrage supporter George Meredith and the women’s rights worker Josephine Butler. It introduces the Wattses’ own anti-patriarchal conjugal creative partnership before investigating their relationships with Meredith and Butler through a reading of Mary Watts’s unpublished and hitherto untranscribed diaries (which record their interactions) as well as a discussion of George Watts’s paintings (particularly his portraits of Meredith and Butler in his ‘Hall of Fame’). This paper thus offers an unprecedented insight into the Wattses’ personal and professional relationships as well as their progressive socio-political positions, reclaiming them as early feminists who were part of a wider emergent feminist community. This paper’s discussion of the Wattses, Meredith, and Butler provides new perspectives on the connections, works, and views of these public literary, artistic, and feminist figures as well as the ways in which they supported and promoted the women’s rights movement that escalated over the course of the second half of the nineteenth century. It thus offers a fuller understanding of these figures as well as of the rise of early feminism in the Victorian period.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : subj_Language
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of English and Languages > English
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Rose, LUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 7 January 2016
Identification Number : 10.1080/13555502.2015.1123172
Copyright Disclaimer : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Victorian Culture on 7 Jan 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13555502.2015.1123172
Uncontrolled Keywords : Mary Watts; George Watts; Josephine Butler; George Meredith; ‘Hall of Fame’; portrait; diary; suffrage; feminism; art; literature
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 18 May 2016 14:25
Last Modified : 18 May 2016 14:25
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/810753

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