This Major Research Project (MRP) examines the artistic production of British culture in the
second half of the Nineteenth Century from 1850–1900, while critically engaging with existing
nineteenth century art and literature, in order to deepen the understanding of the immense role
played by fashion in the lives of Victorian women. I have approached this research study not
through the examination of actual dress in its materiality, but instead, through its visual
representation in paintings. These sartorial embodiments of women’s dress could help extend our
understanding of artworks that are rooted in visual narratives—both literally and figuratively.
Thus, this project aims to re-imagine histories of art through the analysis of the clothed body of
women in nineteenth century paintings—for it is through their sartorial choices that women
defied the Victorian ideals of femininity and femaleness.