Fashion and Visual Culture in the 19th Century: Women in Red

Nead, L. (Lynda)

Presentation Slides

Fashionable dress in the nineteenth century had a moral dimension. Introducing the theme of the morality and modernity of fashion, this lecture considers the visual representation of the fallen women, courtesan and prostitute in the arts of the period. It examines the symbolic language of clothes and the way that it was used to register a woman’s fall from respectability to deviancy. Social and moral identities were of great importance in the new public spaces of the nineteenth-century city along with a need to be able to register identities immediately through visual signs. In this context visual images of women’s dress and appearance were of great significance in embedding this moral language of clothing. This lecture will draw on medical and religious texts, on literature and on paintings and engravings to set out the relationship between fashion, modernity, art and morality.

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Gresham College

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