Venue: Birmingham & Midland Institute, 9 Margaret Street, Birmingham – Lecture starts at 11.00 a.m. Reception from 10.30am.
‘Second generation’ Pre-Raphaelite Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919) actively supported female emancipation in petition and paint. This paper investigates how she employed the metamorphic mermaid as a model for socio-political transformation from captivity to liberty. Her series of mermaid paintings ‘The Little Sea Maid’ (1880-88), ‘The Sea Maidens’ (1885-86) and ‘Daughters of the Mist’ (1900-09) was inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s popular tale ‘The Little Mermaid’ (first translated into English in 1872), and she seizes the narrative as a suffragist. Focusing on their series, this paper explores the representation of the female nude; the feminist significance of the sea; the dynamics of the gaze; the subversive symbolism of the mermaid; and the significance of the dawn in early feminist iconography. It shows how Evelyn re-appropriated masculine symbols and classical myths and represented the female body in her art in order to engage with contemporary gender debates and early feminist issues.
Lucy Ella Rose is Teaching Fellow in English at the University is Surrey, where she completed her PhD awarded by the University and Watts Gallery, Surrey in 2015. Her specialist area is women in the nineteenth-century creative partnerships, and she is currently writing her first book: Suffragist Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word and Image. For publication by Edinburgh University Press in 2017.
For further details relating to the event mentioned above please email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org.