How depicted?The standard images of Victorian women are the 'angel in the house', the factory girl, and the domestic servant (and possibly Florence Nightingale's nurses). Women in Victorian art are usually portrayed as wives subordinate to their husbands and rarely in paid employment. (The exception here is the series of photographs the barrister Arthur Munby took of the domestic servant Hannah Cullwick – whom he subsequently married – and other working-class women.) You can read about his extraordinary relationship with Hannah here. His revealing photographs are held by Trinity College, Cambridge, and some of them can be viewed here.
|Hannah Cullwick (1833-1909)|
Servant and barrister's wife
Moralists fretted about female employment. Ashley (Lord Shaftesbury) believed married women should not work outside the home. The social researcher Henry Mayhew highlighted the dangers of underpaid needlewomen turning to prostitution. The world outside the home was often seen as a dangerous place for women.