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Genteel Mavericks

Professional Women Sculptors in Victorian Britain


Shannon Hunter Hurtado

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Based on their unpublished letters, papers and diaries coupled with contemporary portrayals of female sculptors by novelists, critics, essayists and colleagues, this is an unprecedented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.


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Appendix 291


Appendix Archives Consulted British Library. Rare Books and Manuscripts Department. London. Susan Durant, correspondence. The Cathedral Church of St Paul Archive. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Mary Grant, correspondence. Conway Library Photographic Archive. Courtauld Institute of Art. London. Sculp- tures by Susan Durant, Mary Grant, Amelia Paton Hill, Mary Thornycroft. Edinburgh Central Public Library. Edinburgh Room. St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, newspaper cuttings. Fawcett Library. Guildhall University. London. Susan Durant, correspondence. Girton College Archives. Cambridge. Bessie Rayner Parkes, correspondence and papers 1848 to 1865; Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, correspondence and papers 1863 to 1866. Guildhall Archives. Corporation of the City of London. Commission contract between the Corporation of the City of London and Susan Durant, 11 July 1861; Guildhall Common Council Committee Papers: General Purposes Com- mittee Minutes, 16 & 19 January 1860 and 21 & 22 March 1861. Henry Moore Institute. Leeds Thornycroft Archive, 1847–1892. Lichfield Record Of fice. Staf fordshire. Mary Grant, sculptures. National Archives of Scotland. Edinburgh. Buccleuch Muniments, John Steell regard- ing Amelia Paton Hill. Records of Testamentary Deeds for Mrs Amelia Robertson Paton or Hill, Mr David Octavius Hill. National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh. Senior Curator, British Art. Mary Grant, research notes. National Library of Scotland. Rare Books and Manuscripts. Edinburgh. D. O. Hill, correspondence; Amelia Paton Hill, correspondence; Joseph Noel Paton, jour- nals and correspondence. National Portrait Gallery. London. Susan Durant, donor letter in acquisition file. Public Record Of fice. London. The Court Service, Principal Registry, Mary Grant, will; Family Records Division, Somerset House, Susan Durant, will;...

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