Member Publications

Cleere, The Sanitary Arts: Aesthetic Culture and the Victorian Cleanliness Campaigns

Cleere-SanitaryBy: Eileen Cleere

Eileen Cleere argues in this interdisciplinary study that mid-century discoveries about hygiene and cleanliness not only influenced public health, civic planning, and medical practice but also powerfully reshaped the aesthetic values of the British middle class. By focusing on paintings, domestic architecture, and interior design, The Sanitary Arts: Aesthetic Culture and the Victorian Cleanliness Campaigns shows that the “sanitary aesthetic” significantly transformed the taste of the British public over the nineteenth century by equating robust health and cleanliness with new definitions of beauty and new experiences of aisthesis. Covering everything from connoisseurs to custodians, Cleere demonstrates that Victorian art critics, engineers, and architects—and even novelists from George Eliot to Charles Dickens, Charlotte Mary Young to Sarah Grand—all participated in a vital cultural debate over hygiene, cleanliness, and aesthetic enlightenment.

Available from Ohio State University Press.

Tagged as: