How the Victorians brought famous artists back from the dead in seances

Michelle Elizabeth Foot

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


In the 19th century, in a dim gas-lit seance parlour, the spirits of Titian and Correggio returned to the mortal world to guide the hand of a medium artist, Georgiana Houghton. Claiming to be under the direction of her spirit guides, Houghton drew extraordinarily vibrant and colourful expressions of spiritual abstraction unlike anything seen before in art. As Houghton herself declared, her work was “without parallel in the world”.

Georgiana Houghton’s spirit drawings are pioneering examples of abstract art and a selection of these are now on display at the Courtauld Institute in London. The exhibition contributes to an emerging area of art historical re-evaluation of this period, which intends to change our understanding of 19th-century art.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2016


  • Art
  • Painting
  • seance
  • Spiritualism


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