Dr Lucy Ella Rose

Research Interests

  • Victorian fiction
  • Visual culture
  • Women’s life writing
  • Readership
  • Creative partnerships, circles and networks
  • Women’s suffrage
  • Feminist and gender theory

Lucy Ella welcomes enquiries from doctoral students interested in working in any of these areas.

Teaching

In 2016-17 I am teaching:

•           Gothic to Goth

•           Understanding Drama

•           Understanding the Novel (convenor)

Affiliations

Lucy Ella  is a member of the British Association for Victorian Studies and of the Pre-Raphaelite Society

Conference Papers

•  BAVS-funded roundtable paper, The Future of the Victorians, BAVS English Shared Futures conference, Newcastle, July 2017: ‘Interdisciplinary Archival Research and the Future of Mary Watts Studies.’

•  Reading Art: Pre-Raphaelite Painting and Poetry, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, May 2016: ‘Reading the Rossettis’ Representations of Women.’

• Silence in the Archives, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, November 2015: ‘The Unpublished Diaries of Mary Seton Watts: Struggles, Subtexts and Silences.’

• International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW): Reassessing Women’s Writing of the 1860s-70s, Canterbury Christ Church University, July 2015: ‘Reassessing Christina Rossetti’s Poems About Death: a Feminist Issue.’

• Victorian Modernities, University of Kent, June 2015: ‘The Rise of the “New Woman” in the Nineteenth Century: the Life and Work of Evelyn De Morgan.’

Public Engagement Talks (selected)

•           Lecture for the series Watts & His Circle, Watts Gallery, Surrey, September 2017: ‘The Wattses and Women’s Suffrage.’

•           Talk at the launch of Surrey Museums Month: Women’s History, Lightbox, Woking, April 2017: ‘Mary Watts: Pioneering Surrey Suffragist.’

•           Lecture for the Pre-Raphaelite Society, The Birmingham and Midland Institute, February 2017: ‘The Art of Evelyn De Morgan: the Metamorphic Mermaid.’

•           Lectures for the History of Art and Design Course: Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists, Watts Gallery, Surrey, May 2016: ‘Elizabeth Siddal’ and ‘Christina Rossetti.’

•           Lecture for the Arts and Crafts Movement in Surrey (Autumn Lecture Series), Watts Gallery, Surrey, November 2015: ‘Pre-Raphaelite Poetry and Painting: the Creative Partnership of Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.’

Event Organisation

  • Co-organising conference, Centennial Reflections on Women’s Suffrage and the Arts: Local, National, Transnational, University of Surrey, 2018.
  • Co-organising Surrey University’s flagship International Women’s Day event, Ferguson’s Gang, 2018. 
  • Academic Advisor on the Mary Watts and Suffrage display, Watts Gallery, 2018.

Exhibitions

Rose wrote text for the exhibitions William and Evelyn De Morgan (2012 – 2013) and The Making of Mary Seton Watts (2013 – 2014) at Watts Gallery, and gave the first of the Curators' Tours of the latter.

Contact Me

E-mail:
Phone: 01483 68 8825

Find me on campus
Room: 06 AC 05

Publications

Journal articles

  • Rose L. (2018) 'The Forgotten Fraser-Tytler Sister, Christina Liddell'. Open Library of Humanities 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century,
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Rose L. (2017) 'The Diaries of Mary Seton Watts (1849–1938): A Record of Her Conjugal Creative Partnership with ‘England’s Michelangelo’, George Frederic Watts (1817–1904)'. Taylor & Francis Life Writing, 14 (2), pp. 217-231.

    Abstract

    While much has been written about the famous Victorian artist George Frederic Watts (1817–1904), dubbed ‘England’s Michelangelo’, the life and works of his wife Mary Seton Watts (1849–1938) are comparatively neglected. Mary was not only an artist and designer but also a writer and diarist, although her diaries have never before been studied. This article explores the Wattses’ conjugal creative partnership through a reading of Mary’s diaries covering their marital years (1886–1904), offering an unprecedented insight into their professional and personal relationship. It not only reveals their facilitating roles in each other’s creative practices, but also the tensions and gender-role inversions in their partnership, challenging traditional perceptions of Mary as George’s peripheral, submissive wife. Unlike her self-effacing published biography of George Watts, Mary’s private life writing reveals her role as a respected artistic equal, intellectual companion and even ‘brutal taskmaster’. This article explores the Wattses’ artistic collaborations, joint reading practice, and life/death writing through a reading of Mary’s long-forgotten diaries, which document her approach to marriage, gender, art and literature. It recovers her culturally-important life writing, traces the emergence of her artistic identity and feminist voice, and reclaims her as a remarkable diarist.

  • Rose L. (2016) 'The Unpublished Diaries of Mary Seton Watts (1849-1938) In the Archives at Watts Gallery, Surrey'. University of Tulsa Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, 35 (2), pp. 521-528.
    [ Status: Accepted ]

Conference papers

  • Rose L. (2017) 'Interdisciplinary Archival Research and the Future of Mary Watts Studies'. Newcastle, UK: BAVS English Shared Futures conference
  • Rose L. (2016) 'Reading the Rossettis’ Representations of Women'. Birmingham, UK: Reading Art: Pre-Raphaelite Painting and Poetry
  • Rose L. (2015) 'The Unpublished Diaries of Mary Seton Watts: Struggles, Subtexts and Silences'. Wolfson College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK: Silence in the Archives: Censorship and Suppression in Women’s Life Writing in the Long Nineteenth Century
  • Rose L. (2015) 'Reassessing Christina Rossetti’s Poems About Death: a Feminist Issue'. Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK: International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW): Reassessing Women’s Writing of the 1860s-70s
  • Rose L. (2015) 'The Rise of the “New Woman” in the Nineteenth Century: the Life and Work of Evelyn De Morgan'. University of Kent, Canterbury, UK: Victorian Modernities

Books

  • Rose L . (2017) Suffragist Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word and Image. Edinburgh University Press
    [ Status: Accepted ]

    Abstract

    ‘The hope of the future lies greatly in the fact that woman is now beginning to take her place’, wrote Mary Watts in her diary (1893: 4 April). A year later, feminist writer Sarah Grand coined the term ‘New Woman’ and wrote, ‘women generally are becoming conscious that some great change is taking place in their position’ (Grand 1894: 707). An increasing preoccupation with woman’s place – and specifically, the evolving role and shifting socio-political position of women – is perceptible in much art and literature of the later nineteenth century, the period that engendered active feminism in the form of the women’s suffrage movement. Woman’s place was a primary focus of Victorian-Edwardian feminist discourse, and remains central to present-day feminism. This book shows how neglected nineteenth-century women writers and artists transgressed traditional female spheres and restrictive feminine norms in their professional creative practices and unconventional creative partnerships with men, and how their literary and visual texts can be read as sites of struggle against – rather than submission to – patriarchy. These marginalised Victorian women, traditionally defined as subordinate gender ‘others’ in relation to their famous husbands, can be seen as ‘significant others’ who were not passive and peripheral but rather active and influential in their creative partnerships as well as in contemporary debates, through which they achieved and promoted greater personal and political empowerment and freedom. This is the first book dedicated to examining the marital relationships of Mary and George Watts and Evelyn and William De Morgan as creative partnerships. The study demonstrates how they worked, individually and together, to support greater gender equality and female liberation in the nineteenth century. The author traces their relationship to early and more recent feminism, reclaiming them as influential early feminists and reading their works from twentieth-century theoretical perspectives. By focusing on neglected female figures in creative partnerships, the book challenges longstanding perceptions of them as the subordinate wives of famous Victorian artists and of their marriages as representatives of the traditional gender binary. This is also the first academic critical study of Mary Watts’s recently published diaries, Evelyn De Morgan’s unpublished writings and other previously unexplored archival material by the Wattses and the De Morgans.

  • Greenhow D. (2016) The Diary of Mary Watts 1887-1904: Victorian Progressive and Artistic Visionary. Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd

    Abstract

    Mary Watts (1849-1938) was a leading designer of the Arts & Crafts period, the founder of the Compton Pottery and the wife of the great Victorian painter George Frederic Watts (1817-1904). She was also an avid diarist and filled copious volumes - each known affectionately as 'Fatima' - with her musings on art and society and her day-to-day life with an artist at the height of his powers. Never previously published, due to the tiny, almost illegible handwriting, the diary volumes have now been painstakingly transcribed by Desna Greenhow, who has extracted the most illuminating passages for reproduction here. Including detailed annotations, an introductory essay and short writings at the start of each year represented, this book chronicles life in the artistic, literary and political circles of the time, while also providing invaluable insights into Mary's own achievements - most notably her management of the building and decorating of her unique Watts Cemetery Chapel. For all those fascinated by the Wattses and the society in which they lived, this is an invaluable resource that makes an important contribution to nineteenth-century studies.

Book chapters

  • Rose L. (2017) 'The Diaries of Mary Seton Watts (1849–1938): A Record of Her Conjugal Creative Partnership with ‘England’s Michelangelo’, George Frederic Watts (1817–1904)'. in James F, North J (eds.) Writing Lives Together: Romantic and Victorian auto/biography Routledge , pp. 85-100.

    Abstract

    While much has been written about the eminent Victorian artist George Frederic Watts (1817-1904), dubbed ‘England’s Michelangelo’, the life and works of his wife Mary Seton Watts (1849-1938) are comparatively neglected. Mary was not only an artist and designer but also a writer and diarist, although her (currently unpublished) diaries have never before been studied. This article explores the Wattses’ conjugal creative partnership through a reading of Mary’s diaries covering their marital years (1886-1904), offering an unprecedented insight into their professional and personal relationship. It not only reveals their facilitating roles in each other’s creative practices, but also the tensions and gender-role inversions in their partnership, challenging traditional perceptions of Mary as George’s peripheral, submissive wife. Unlike her self-effacing published biography of George Watts, Mary’s private life writing reveals her role as a respected artistic equal, intellectual companion and even ‘brutal taskmaster’. This article explores the Wattses’ artistic collaborations, joint reading practice, and life/death writing through a reading of Mary’s long-forgotten diaries, which document her approach to marriage, gender, art and literature. It recovers her culturally-important life writing, traces the emergence of her artistic identity and feminist voice, and reclaims her as a remarkable diarist for the first time.

  • Rose L. (2013) 'The Creative Partnership of Mary and George Watts'. in McMahon M (ed.) The Making of Mary Seton Watts Surrey, UK : Watts Gallery

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