23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery
Venture to the top of the Courtauld Gallery to see a collection of gothic erotica from the mind of Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)...

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery
Venture to the top of the Courtauld Gallery to see a collection of gothic erotica from the mind of Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)...

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery
Venture to the top of the Courtauld Gallery to see a collection of gothic erotica from the mind of Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)...

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery
Venture to the top of the Courtauld Gallery to see a collection of gothic erotica from the mind of Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)...

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery
Venture to the top of the Courtauld Gallery to see a collection of gothic erotica from the mind of Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)...

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery
Venture to the top of the Courtauld Gallery to see a collection of gothic erotica from the mind of Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)...

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery
Venture to the top of the Courtauld Gallery to see a collection of gothic erotica from the mind of Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)...

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery
Venture to the top of the Courtauld Gallery to see a collection of gothic erotica from the mind of Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)...

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
23/11/2022
Reviews
Alfred Portman-Corroll
The Gothic Erotica of Henry Fuseli at The Courtauld Gallery
Venture to the top of the Courtauld Gallery to see a collection of gothic erotica from the mind of Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)...

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Fuseli initially trained as a protestant priest. Perhaps it was his impious urges that turned him to art and to England, where he gained notoriety as a controversial artist causing both outrage and intrigue. He would go on to become Professor of Painting and Keeper of the House at the Royal Academy which at that time was located at Somerset House, now the Courtauld Gallery. He lived at the gallery with his wife and muse Sophia Rawlins (1762-1832) from 1805 until his death.

Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare (1781) was an overnight sensation which gripped Georgian society; some described him as a creative genius, others an eccentric degenerate. His public paintings were enough to shock the public two hundred years ago, although private pornographic drawings including some of those on display in this exhibition were not unusual and pornographic cartoons such as the caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) would have been widely known. 

Fuseli’s work is distinctive and in many of the drawings there is a strong sense of intimacy. His depictions are not caricatures but private fantasies, many of which are modelled on his wife Sophia. She is not satirised but has a defiant gaze which meets the viewer directly. During the Georgian era virtues considered attractive in women, such as passivity, devotion and tenderness came to be seen as essential qualities, intrinsic to women, and therefore a woman engaging in a public role began to be seen as not only unattractive but unnatural.  

Henry Fuseli, Three women at a curtained window, c. 1778–79. Graphite and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash

Female sex workers and particularly ‘courtesans’ (sex workers with courtly, wealthy or middle-class clientele) acted in opposition to patriarchal social expectations and exercised their own sexual liberation. While it was considered normal for a man to engage in frequent casual sex, women were expected to be chaste or else immoral. This is one aspect that sets Fuseli’s drawings apart from other erotica; the courtesans he depicts have a certain power over the viewer, turning away to caress their buttocks, enticing the viewer in. When men are present - which they often aren’t - they appear subservient. 

Fuseli was seemingly aroused by the idea of dominant women who rejected the contemporary idea of the domestic wife. He depicts his wife Sophia in these drawings imbuing her with some of this sexual power. His drawings are riddled with meaning, for instance references to classical mythology. The face of Medusa in one drawing alludes to the supernatural power of women over men. In another drawing we see a woman in front of the sculpture Laocoon, in which a priest and his sons are killed by a serpent. Before the male body palpitating in agony, the woman watches with clenched fists. In another drawing, a man is seen trapped in a well, a woman toying with him using her hair as a rope, and beside it in a sketch from Fuseli’s youth a woman towers over a man with a whip. 

Henry Fuseli, Fool on a Rope, c.1757-59

The other kinky aspect of these drawings is the hair; it was not uncommon for the elite to see a hairdresser every day, as both Henry and Sophia did, but it is evident that - if the hairstyles documented in Fuseli’s drawings are real and not imagined - not only did Sophia spend hours preparing these creations, her creativity must be commended as they depart from any known style of the period. The curators draw on other portraits of women by Fuseli to demonstrate his preoccupation and possible fetishism toward drawing hair. His depiction of women's hair is always intricately detailed and complete even when the body is merely a sketch.

Henry Fuseli. Woman sitting at a window, looking out at a blue landscape (c. 1790-95). Pen and brown ink, brush and watercolour and opaque watercolour, over graphite.

Many of his more complete drawings (suggesting they were intended for sale rather than private use) feature women turned away - only the backside of their complex hairstyle visible as well as their bulbous buttocks through limp cloth. While the exhibition claims that Fuseli’s drawings represent modern women, Fuseli’s eroticisation of dominant women is still a male fantasy projected onto women within the context of a patriarchal society. Although he does not portray sex workers as submissive, he is still creating erotic ‘art’ which fulfil his male fantasy. The clientele for these licentious drawings would have been male and although libertine surely bound by conservative attitudes towards women. 

Was Fuseli empowering women or simply sexualising the idea of their empowerment? Visit Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism at the Courtauld Gallery until 8th January 2023 to decide for yourself, and don’t forget to collect your Yamos! 

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
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