Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis



Reader 1

Corey Tazzara

Reader 2

Julia E. Liss

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Rights Information

© 2014 Claire Pompetti


This thesis deals with the intersection of art and Victorian gender. The first chapter will deal with the Victorian era in England from the 1840s to 1900s. This chapter will serve as background information to familiarize the reader with Victorian London, the birth place of the Pre-Raphaelites. By examining the subject of industrialization in England and seeing how it changed and influenced society as a whole, the Pre-Raphaelites’ motives for formation become evident and their artistic style is understood in context. The next chapter takes a close look at the art that the Pre-Raphaelites were producing, examining both its subject matter and its literary basis in comparison to the historical setting. By using art as historical evidence, it shows the Pre-Raphaelites’ own personal investment in the subject of Victorian gender relations. Finally, the third chapter examines the wives of the Pre-Raphaelites as a case study for how these real Victorian woman acted and behaved, outside of the expectations and social constraints of the era. Since these were the women most closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelites and their lives were generally well-documented, they make excellent subjects to follow to determine what sort of agency they had in comparison to their stereotypes and male counterparts. Overall, this thesis seeks to tie together the ideas of Victorian gender norms and Pre-Raphaelite art to create a more nuanced and complete history of the Pre-Raphaelites as people and artists.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.