'Art of a second order': the First World War from the British home front perspective

Roberts, Richenda M. (2013). 'Art of a second order': the First World War from the British home front perspective. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Redacted Version

Download (1MB)


Little art-historical scholarship has been dedicated to fine art responding to the British home front during the First World War. Within pre-war British society concepts of sexual difference functioned to promote masculine authority. Nevertheless in Britain during wartime enlarged female employment alongside the presence of injured servicemen suggested feminine authority and masculine weakness, thereby temporarily destabilizing pre-war values. Adopting a socio-historical perspective, this thesis argues that artworks engaging with the home front have been largely excluded from art history because of partiality shown towards masculine authority within the matrices of British society. Furthermore, this situation has been supported by the writing of art history, which has, arguably, followed similar premise. This study will demonstrate that engagement with the home front inevitably meant that artists’ work could be interpreted as supporting different values to the pre-war period. However, the reintegration of ex-servicemen after the war resulted in the promotion of the wartime ordeal of male combatants. Not only did this restore the pre-war position of men, it inspired canonical values for British First World War art to uphold masculine authority. Consequently much art engaging with the home front has been deemed antithetical to established canonical values and written-out of art history.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4008


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year