EXHIBITION 'Colour Revolution: Victorian Art, Fashion & Design'

21 September 2023-18 February 2024, Ashmolean Museum

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Colour Revolution, the Ashmolean’s autumn exhibition, presents a dazzling version of the Victorian world, surprisingly one of the most colourful periods in history.  The exhibition dispels the myth that the Victorian era was a dreary landscape of ‘dark satanic mills’ and cities choked with smog.  Instead, it shows how developments in art, science and technology resulted in an explosion of colour that was embraced by artists, designers and regular people of the 19th century.   The exhibition reveals a spectacular and flamboyant array of artworks, costume and design that sprung from this ‘colour revolution’.  It features 140 objects from international collections ranging from Ruskin’s exquisite studies, Turner and Whistler’s experiments with colour harmony, and Morris & Co.’s elaborate designs, to fashion, jewellery and homeware that enlivened the streets and homes of Victorian Britain and Europe.


The exhibition is curated by Matthew Winterbottom, Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford and Prof Charlotte Ribeyrol, Sorbonne Université, Paris.

The exhibition is supported by: Mr Barrie and Mrs Deedee Wigmore; The Patrons of the Ashmolean Museum; The Huo Family Foundation; Kathryn Uhde; Henry Moore Foundation; Dr Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation; The Anson Charitable Trust.

Chromotope Research Project
The exhibition is one strand of the European Research Council funded Chromotope: The 19th-century Chromatic Turn research project.  The project is a cross-disciplinary investigation into what happened to colour in the 19th century, and notably how the ‘chromatic turn’ of the 1850s mapped out new ways of thinking about colour in the arts, science and technology throughout Europe.