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.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/women-in-red
Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There are currently over 1,500 lectures free to access or download from the website.
Professor Lynda Nead
Professor Lynda Nead is the Pevsner Professor of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London. Her work focuses on the history of British art whilst she also maintains an interest in more general areas of the visual arts and contemporary art.