Pre-Raphaelitism and the professional ideal : art, criticism, and sexuality.
This dissertation examines the professional ideal in relation to the development
and transformation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood between the late 1840s and
The first chapter examines how one might relate the recent theoretical work
on nineteenth-century professionalism by Harold Perkin to the distinctive art
practice of the Pre-Raphaelites.
In chapter two, the discussion focuses on how the professional ideal was
shaped by the development of a frequently hostile periodical press that insisted
on seeing the Pre-Raphaelites as a distinctive group.
The third chapter considers how the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood developed
professional identities that diverged from the careers of those artists sponsored by
the Royal Academy. The chapter looks in particular at the innovative exhibiting
strategies that the Pre-Raphaelites undertook to market their work.
Chapter Four compares how differently John Everett Millais and Dante
Gabriel Rossetti responded to attacks on Pre-Raphaelitism, and how they were
ultimately drawn to contrasting aspects of professionalism. Their divergent
careers reveal a major tension between entrepreneurial and professional ideals in
the art market.
The final chapter examines the 'fleshly school' controversy that surrounded
Rossetti and the early Aesthetes of the 1870s. This concluding study reveals how
Rossetti's contentious representation of sexual subject-matter played a crucial role
in the consolidation of the professional ideal