Segments in this Video

Female Artists and the Industrial Revolution (02:15)


18th century Britain led the world in industry and innovation. In this film, Professor Amanda Vickery will reveal how French and English women embraced creativity in sculpture, design, and painting.

Betty Ratcliffe (04:29)

Women in Georgian Britain expressed creativity in the domestic sphere, also called amateur work. Vickery analyzes a Chinoiserie pagoda made by a Welsh governess. Her employers supported her artistic talents.

Palmyra Ruins (02:35)

Ratcliffe's model of a Syrian monument reflected the Neoclassicism movement. Her talents drew criticism from the Yorke family matron, who thought a servant shouldn't make art.

Georgian Decoration Kit (02:35)

18th century manufacturers recognized a market in female crafting. Vickery inspects a 1790s set for embroidery, sequins, and other materials. Women's art was confined to the domestic sphere.

Royal Academy of Arts (03:14)

The London institution initially displayed female crafts, but in 1770 they were banned—officially separating professional and amateur art mediums.

Angelica Kauffmann (02:48)

One of the Royal Academy's two female founders, the Swiss artist's success was the subject of rumors. Vickery discusses the importance of mastering history painting in 18th century England; it would be Kauffmann's greatest challenge.

Kauffmann's Catch-22 (02:17)

The artist needed to produce a history painting to be successful, but social propriety forbade women from viewing or sketching the nude male. Her sketchbook shows models missing genitalia.

Feminizing History Paintings (02:04)

Kauffmann sketched sculptures of men, rather than live models. She focused on female heroines and presented male heroes in scenes that required no nudity—changing art history in the process.

Anne Seymour Damer (02:45)

In 1784, work by a female sculptor was accepted by the Royal Academy. Vickery shows her keystone carvings on Henley Bridge. Learn about Damer's privileged upbringing and discovery of sculpture.

Georgian Female Sculptor (02:38)

Damer's art career was derailed by marriage. After her husband committed suicide, she pursued sculpture. View a Neoclassical bust of Elizabeth Farren expressing her education.

18th Century Public Female Artist (03:19)

As Damer's sculpting talent grew, male rivals spread rumors that she was a lesbian. View a bust of Mary Berry, her closest friend. In 1789, she was commissioned to create Apollo—drawing criticism for depicting the male anatomy. However, she remained successful.

Merchandising Female Art (02:08)

Kauffmann understood the power of printing and reproduction. She sold her paintings to porcelain manufacturers, becoming popular in 18th century middle class homes.

Anna Maria Garthwaite (03:00)

The 18th century textile industry was dominated by men. The textile designer translated the traditional female craft of watercolor flowers for mass production.

Female Fabric Innovations (03:18)

One of Garthwaite's early paper cuts shows detail and draftsmanship. Learn about her beginnings as a textile designer in London. Her designs were popular in Europe and in America.

Rose Bertin (04:07)

In the late 17th century, seamstresses broke the male dressmaking monopoly. Bertin was apprenticed to a milliner and later opened her own Paris shop, gaining popularity through styling as well as gown design.

Styling a Queen (04:31)

Bertain became Marie Antoinette's personal designer and pioneered her pouf hairstyle. The queen ordered a new wardrobe each year, establishing the fashion cycle. In 1783, Bertain dressed Marie Antoinette in a muslin chemise—outraging the silk industry.

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (04:00)

The French artist became Marie Antoinette's portrait painter. She married an art collector and used her beauty and talent to build a career. She drew on Rousseau's ideas of natural parenting to paint mother and child portraits.

"Marie Antoinette and her Children" (03:43)

In 1787, Le Brun was commissioned to improve the queen's public image by showing her maternal side. When Versailles was attacked during the French Revolution, the mob destroyed Bertain's gowns—a symbol of royal excess. In 1792, she left for London. Her career was over, but she'd established haute couture.

Female Artistic Setback (02:44)

During the French Revolution, Le Brun fled to Italy, where she achieved international success. Her self portrait in the Vasari Corridor references Marie Antoinette, who enabled female creativity. Ironically, the Institute of France barred women.

Credits: The Story Of Women & Art: Episode 2 (00:47)

Credits: The Story Of Women & Art: Episode 2

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The Story of Women and Art: Episode 2

Part of the Series : The Story of Women and Art
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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Professor Amanda Vickery's journey to uncover the story of female creativity reaches the 18th century. The focus turns to the industrial powerhouse that is Britain and the glittering French court of Marie Antoinette. Despite being regarded as second class citizens when it came to art, this was an era when ingenious women seized a galaxy of fresh opportunities to stamp their creativity on the age; from a designer who would revitalize the British silk industry to a painter who would immortalize the Ancien Régime.

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL86589

ISBN: 978-1-60057-794-9

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video customers.