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Truth to Nature: Pre-Raphaelite Dress in Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture

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posted on 23.05.2021, 16:25 by Marta Heinrich
The Pre-Raphaelites were a group of artists in mid-nineteenth century England who disliked popular art, design, and fashion. They devised an oppositional, artistic type of dress. This major research project (MRP) endeavours to define, contextualize, and interpret the special kind of dress depicted in Pre-Raphaelite paintings and worn by women in the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Qualitative, interdisciplinary historical methods were used in my research method, and visual media (both primary and secondary sources) were used throughout the project. Outcomes include a new analysis of Pre-Raphaelite dress and its formal qualities along with a socio-cultural analysis of why the Pre-Raphaelites chose to dress in an eclectic way. The paintings reveal the diverse sources the Pre-Raphaelites used to create original garments in their illustrated works. The original garments the Pre-Raphaelites wore influenced other artistic, dress, and design reform movements such as the Aesthetic Dress movement and the Arts and Craft movement.





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Kimberly Wahl