Model and supermodel

The artists' model in British art and culture

Edited by Jane Desmarais, Martin Postle and Martin Vaughan

Model and supermodel

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6662-7
  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: December 2006
  • BIC Category: The arts / History of art / art & design styles, The arts / Human figures depicted in art, Humanities / Social & cultural history, ART / Subjects & Themes / Human Figure, HISTORY / Social History, History of art, Human figures depicted in art, Art History
  • Series: Critical Perspectives in Art History


Over the last twenty years there have been flurries of interest in the artist's model, and recent exhibitions have stimulated new activity in this area. Model and Supermodel extends the discussion about the social and cultural significance of the model in British art and culture. A fascinating collection of essays and interviews, it examines the persistent mythology of the artist's model and some of the ambiguities involved in depicting the body.

The volume begins with Martin Postle's survey of the profession of the model during the period c.1840-1940. Elizabeth Prettejohn considers the Pre-Raphaelite model and Alison Smith examines the lives of some nineteenth-century models who achieved fame and notoriety in their own right. Jane Desmarais looks at the model from a literary perspective and Reena Suleman presents the work of Edward Linley Sambourne. Michael Hatt's essay examines the aesthetic and ethical aspects of Tuke's use of boy models for his paintings of nude bathers, and William Vaughan reflects on the British figurative tradition from Sickert to Freud. Catherine Wood brings the volume up to date with her essay on the found model in contemporary art, and the volume concludes with two interviews with the artist, Peter Blake, and a life model, Susannah Gregory.

The book offers a series of lively takes on the phenomenon of the artist's model. It will make fascinating reading for those interested in modern art and the wider aspects of British culture and society.


Introduction - Jane Desmarais, Martin Postle and William Vaughan
1. Naked civil servants: the professional life model in British art and society - Martin Postle
2. The Pre-Raphaelite model - Elizabeth Prettejohn
3. Modelling Godiva in the nineteenth century - Alison Smith
4. The model on the writers' block: The model in fiction from Balzac to Du Maurier - Jane Desmarais
5. Still Lives: the Art of Edward Linley Sambourne - Reena Suleman
6. 'A Great Sight': Henry Scott Tuke and His Models - Michael Hatt
7. Overexposed? The model in British figurative art from Sickert to Freud - William Vaughan
8. Paper dolls: the found model in contemporary art - Catherine Wood
Appendix A: The Artist: Peter Blake in conversation with Colin Wiggins, Nottingham, 1999
Appendix B: The Model: Susannah Gregory in conversation with Jane Desmarais, London, 2001


Jane Desmarais is Lecturer in English at Goldsmiths College, London. Martin Postle is Curator and Head of British Art to 1900 at the Tate Collection. William Vaughan is Professor Emeritus in History of Art at Birkbeck College, University of London

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