Artistic Dress

Transgressive Fashion in the Victorian Era

Floppy but Manly

James Craig Annan, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, ca. 1893. Modern bromide print, 200 x 151 mm, 7 7/8 x 6 in. National Portrait Gallery, Purchased 1984 [NPG x132515]

James Craig Annan, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, ca. 1893. Modern bromide print, 200 x 151 mm, 7 7/8 x 6 in.
National Portrait Gallery, Purchased 1984 [NPG x132515]

I promise, if you read through a bit of exposition, the reason for the title shall become clear.

It has been a shamefully long time since I have updated this blog. Blame teaching. Speaking of which, it has been a fantastic year in that regard, capped by the fact that last Autumn I actually taught a class on Artistic Dress at my lovely institution, the Glasgow School of Art. I have been meaning to write about it for ages, but now it has been so long, I feel I must do it in an all-too-brief recap.

Essentially, rather than write an essay, I decided my students should revive the late Victorian GSA tradition of performing Tableau Vivant (a bit more on this below). They formed groups and came up with these ‘living pictures’ to display aspects of Artistic Dress in their own view. I couldn’t have been more impressed with the results, and luckily, while I was dashing about ‘directing’ the event (we invited staff, students and friends to come in and see the performance), my fantastic colleague Bruce Peter got pictures! Please click on through to see this event for now, and I will make a dedicated post to this wonderful class in the very near future.

I wished to mention it here, however, as it somewhat related to the real purpose of this post. I recently participated in a wonderful panel at the 39th annual Association of Art Historians conference. Organised by Colin Cruise and Amelia Yates, it was on the subject ‘Image, Identity and Institutions: the Male Artist in the 19th century.’ I was honoured to be included in the group, which also included my former advisor and mentor Margaret F. MacDonald. Likewise, it is always great to see old friends and meet new Victorianistas, and in the latter category, Sian White has written a very nice review of our panel at her blog – read Part I here, and Part II, which includes my paper, here.

I did consider posting the text of my paper here, ever-wary of the balancing act between being magnanimous with my research, and saving the ‘juicy bits’ for the book. But as this was written to be delivered in a talk, and there are so many lovely images of even lovelier artists, I thought I might try something a little different. I made a little documentary.

This certainly has its glitches, and in the spirit of keeping it close to the original, this is really just an elaborate powerpoint with voiceover and some other fancy additions that iMovie allows. It is also read at an easier pace than conference time limits encourage. So, if you happen to have a spare 32 minutes and 20 seconds, and you want to learn a little more about bohemians, dandies, fantastic moustaches and floppy ties (and where the title of this post comes from), please sit back and watch.

And please do leave comments here, I’d love to know what people think!


3 comments on “Floppy but Manly

  1. Pingback: #phdlife… Impressions and Ideas: April Conference Season! | #phdlife

  2. Pingback: Blogging | Culture and Anarchy

  3. Kate
    April 23, 2014

    Robyne, I found this fascinating. Thank you for sharing.

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Header Image

'Mrs Luke Ionides' by William Blake Richmond, London, 1882. Oil on canvas. Collection of the V&A, Museum no. E.1062-2003. Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund and the Friends of the V&A.



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