Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Victorian World Pictures
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay  100%
Supplementary Assessment 2,500 word essay  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1 demonstrate a knowledge of key issues in British art c.1830-c.1910 and their wider cultural and social contexts in the period;

2 demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and theories, style labels, critical texts and the historical contexts for the production of art in Victorian Britain;

3 frame an oral response to questions in workshops and class discussion;

4 develop sound abilities in written argument on appropriate material in the essay;

5 demonstrate a sound knowledge of bibliographic and other research skills at an appropriate level.

Brief description

The Victorian era is noted for the dynamism of its culture, not the least in its pictorial and graphic representations. This module concentrates on the years c.1830-c.1910 to analyse the key forces that changed British art from being a relatively exclusive and privileged culture to having a wider role to play in forming Victorian social identities, to greater access to art through galleries and public collections, to burgeoning industries of art criticism, reviewing and publishing. Emphasis will be placed upon the growth and development of cultural agencies such as national museums, commercial galleries and the art market, as well as the growth of regional collections, art societies and competitions instigated to encourage the visual arts. Taking eight lecture topics the module develops an overview of Victorian art that is not dependent solely on individual artists or works but takes genres, categories, institutions and technologies as central to understanding the art of the period. The module encourages individual engagement through reading for workshops, discussion and engagement with key ideas and texts.


Introduction: Picturing the world in Victorian art
Social class and home life: Victorian genre painting
‘History painting’ and versions of the past
Looking at Art: Galleries and art culture in Victorian Britain
Varieties of faith in Victorian art
The street and modern culture
Representing gender and sexuality
Beauty as subject: aestheticism and ‘higher’ art criticism

The impact of Empire
Women as artists
Race: visibility and invisibility
Technology and the image

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Lectures, seminars, workshops, note-taking, writing essays, keeping module diary.
Improving own Learning and Performance Keeping personal Research Diary reflecting upon progress and understanding of module material.
Information Technology In the use of museum collection and specialist research websites to research objects and images.
Personal Development and Career planning The module highlights the importance of picture research, visual analysis and the development of professional writing skills stressing these as necessary for the development of a career as a professional art historian working in museums, archives, art galleries and universities.
Problem solving In seminar preparation and discussion, essay research and writing, and in the examination.
Research skills Through research for the workshop discussions and for the written assessment.
Subject Specific Skills Visual literacy, visual and verbal analysis.
Team work In workshop tasks and discussions both of which will employ small group work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6