Genteel Mavericks

Professional Women Sculptors in Victorian Britain

by Shannon Hunter Hurtado (Author)
©2012 Monographs XVII, 330 Pages


Sculpture was no occupation for a lady in Victorian Britain. Yet between 1837 and 1901 the number of professional female sculptors increased sixteen-fold. The four principal women sculptors of that era are the focus of this book. Once known for successful careers marked by commissions from the royal family, public bodies and private individuals, they are forgotten now. This book brings them back to light, addressing who they were, how they negotiated middle-class expectations and what kind of impact they had on changing gender roles.
Based on their unpublished letters, papers and diaries coupled with contemporary portrayals of female sculptors by novelists, critics, essayists and colleagues, this is an unprecedented picture of the women sculptors’ personal experience of preparing for and conducting careers as well as the public’s perception of them. The author examines each woman’s ability to use her position within the historical and cultural context as a platform from which to instigate change. The analytical emphasis throughout is on the art of negotiation and the result is an interdisciplinary work that delves deeply into the experience of an undervalued cohort of artists who had a disproportionate influence on Victorian social norms.


XVII, 330
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2012 (June)
Family matters Characteristics and convictions Carving out a career Critical appraisals
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2012. XVIII, 330 pp., 49 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Shannon Hunter Hurtado (Author)

Shannon Hunter Hurtado is an independent scholar who specializes in nineteenth-century British sculpture, particularly sculpture made by women. She teaches history of art at the University of Edinburgh and has been a researcher for the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association’s National Recording Project, Edinburgh volume. Previously, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh.


Title: Genteel Mavericks