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Title: Women, craft, and the object : Birmingham 1880-1930
Author: FitzGerald, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 4355
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis addresses the overlooked contribution of female graduates of the Birmingham Municipal School of Art to the Arts and Crafts movement, during the period of 1880 to 1930. Despite the special status which the Birmingham School enjoyed in its time, Birmingham’s Arts and Crafts movement as a whole has been relatively little studied. The role of women artists within this regional phenomenon has been even further neglected. Employing an object-led approach, this thesis uses artworks as the starting point and main vectors for the exploration of issues tied to materiality, technique, collaboration, authorship, politics, religion, regionalism and gender. The work of Georgie Gaskin (1866-1934), Celia Levetus (1874-1936), Kate Bunce (1856-1927), Myra Bunce (1854-1919), Florence Camm (1874-1960), Margaret A. Rope (1882-1953), and Mary Newill (1860-1947) will be studied in detail. It will be argued that these women artists were integral to the renewal of book-illustration, the revival of the artistic technique of painting in tempera, stained glass making and embroidery. A web of interactions crucial to their professional success will be traced based on geographical proximity, shared workspaces, and social connections. Craftswomen’s role as educators will also be investigated, revealing them as shapers and not merely followers or consumers of the movement. Informed in particular by the theoretical writings of the philosophers Arthur C. Danto, Jacques Rancière and feminist art historian Griselda Pollock, this thesis will offer a valuable update to a field largely untouched by current academic debates and saturated with survey publications. Combined with extensive archival research and the close inspection of artworks, this study aims to go beyond the additive approach of reinsertion. It seeks to provide a critical discussion of the materialisations of women’s participation in the formation of culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament