An analysis of the Select Committee on Arts and Manufactures of 1835-6: anatomy, benthamism and design
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AuthorsWebb, Jane Alexandra
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis thesis is an analysis of the Select Committee on Arts and Manufactures of 1835-6 and begins with an exploration of previous scholarship surrounding the Parliamentary debate. The present study offers a critique of these analyses by situating the debates alongside the policies of Philosophical Radicalism, initially exploring the legacy of Enlightenment science inherited by this group. By a consideration of the philosophies of the Benthamites, the thesis proposes that the broader concerns of the governing of society were at work within the Select Committee inquiry, suggesting that this was a core debate in which an analogy between design of society and design for manufactures was drawn. Design in its broadest definition is therefore examined in a number of ways starting with an initial outline of the principles of good design. This analysis offers a set of criteria for judging superior or inferior design as it was established through the collective views of the inquiry witnesses. From here anatomy, which is the most considered principle of good design identified in the proceedings is focussed on. A study of anatomy is discussed in relation to traditional fine art practice and is linked to notions of creativity deriving from Neoplatonic theory, in which the artist's creativity was identified as a skill making him/her akin to a god. The question is therefore asked how this empowered sense of an artist was to fit into a Benthamite view of an automated and harmonious factory. The thesis concludes that in order for design to be conceived within such an environment, the Philosophical Radicals transformed the traditional understanding of a study of human anatomy away from an empowered creativity to a model of acceptance and servitude, where the designer was seen as reliant on the fixed laws of an autonomous society. This mirrored their own philosophies of societal management. The thesis identifies this change in model, as a contributing factor in the development of design practice and theory.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/