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THE CULT OF OSCAR WILDE Anne Anderson Wednesday 27 March 2019

Anne Anderson graduated in Art History and Archaeology from Leicester University in 1978 and worked as an archaeologist for 8 years, being elected to the Society of Antiquaries in 1997. 1993-2007 senior lecturer on the Fine Arts Valuation degree courses at Southampton Solent University, specialising in the Aesthetic Movement, Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Modernism. She is currently Hon. Research Fellow at Exeter University; a Fletcher Jones Fellow of the Huntington Library, CA; a fellow of the Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum and Library; Cumming Ceramic Research Foundation Fellow (2007 and 2010) and consultant for Lord Frederic Leighton's Studio-House, Kensington. Her 2008 exhibition Ancient Landscapes, Pastoral Visions Samuel Palmer to the Ruralists attracted some 47,000 visitors. She has published books on Roman pottery, Art Deco teapots and Edward Burne-Jones. A lecturer for The Arts Society since 1993, Anne toured Australia in 2000, 2006, 2009 and has lectured on cruises. Her television credits include BBC's Flog It! Anne is also a tutor at the V&A on the Chardin to Cézanne year course.

The Cult of Beauty dominated the second half of the 19th century. It was for some akin to a religion. The priesthood originally consisted of John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Walter Pater but by 1880 its leading spokesperson was Oscar Wilde. Oscar made his debut, as an art critic, in 1877 with his review of the Grosvenor Gallery. His downfall came in 1895, when not only Oscar but also art itself was put on trial and found to be morally corrupting. Oscar was blamed for leading astray the youth of his day, for turning young men into effeminate fops and young women into emancipated viragos! The Aesthetic male was too concerned with his china, carpets and curtains, while the High Art Maiden was too caught up in the pursuit of art to worry about a husband or children. The Aesthetic Movement encouraged everybody to consider themselves an artist, even if it was only in terms of personal dress and home decorating. Homes were transformed into Palaces of Art, while shopping, at Liberty’s and Morris and Co., was raised to an art form in its own right! 

To download an application form, click here: Wilde