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    Sister arts: the life of colour and the colour of life in the work of Alice Meynell and Elizabeth Butler

    Fraser, Hilary (2020) Sister arts: the life of colour and the colour of life in the work of Alice Meynell and Elizabeth Butler. Word & Image 36 (1), pp. 48-63. ISSN 0266-6286.

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    The poet, essayist, and art critic Alice Meynell and her sister, the painter Elizabeth Butler, shared a strong interest in colour. Where Butler applies her educated chromatic sensibility to her painting, Meynell brings her own knowledgeable appreciation of the aesthetic effects and cultural and figurative significations of colour to her essays and critical work on modern art. Her lyrical explorations of the poetics of colour in the natural, urban, and cultural landscapes, and the ambition of her attempt to map the life of colour and (the title of one of her most potent essays) the colour of life, were informed by the education in the history and materiality, as well as the symbolism and aesthetics, of colour that she shared in her youth with her artist sister. Their unusually intense and colourful female sibling education, and the lifelong reciprocities of their interrelated professional lives, provide an important context for understanding Meynell’s and Butler’s individual engagement in chromatic experimentation. The ability to move between the materiality and the symbolism of colour is a significant shared feature of their creative practice that helps one to think more tangibly about the sibling interfiliation of word and image in the late nineteenth century. Attending to the meanings of colour for this unusual sorority offers a unique perspective on the uses and meanings of colour in the sister arts of literature and painting.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Alice Meynell, Elizabeth Butler, colour, gender
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Nineteenth-Century Studies, Centre for
    Depositing User: Hilary Fraser
    Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2019 09:42
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:46


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