The opening of the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877, as a rival to the Royal Academy exhibitions, provided a new space for the reception of art, albeit still exclusive, providing an arena for the Aesthetes, those declared lovers of beauty and those who exploited art as a vehicle for rising through society: “The glamour of fashion was over it, and the great help that Lady Lindsay was able to give by holding Sunday receptions there made it one of the most fashionable resorts of the London season” (Gere 19). Lady Blanche Lindsay, whose mother was a Rothschild, offered an array of Red Carpet events, from the Grosvenor’s famous opening banquet to not-so-private Private Views (Gillet 40-49).1 With the Lindsay’s connections, the Grosvenor enjoyed the cache of showing work by socially distinguished practitioners: Princess Louise, the Marchioness of Lorne and Duchess of Argyll; the Marchioness of Waterford; Lady Wentworth; Archie Stuart Wortley; George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle, and Roddam Spencer Stanhope. According to the Illustrated London News, “the cant of elegant litterateurs and professional dilettante” ruled the Grosvenor Gallery (Anon c. 1880). Many of the exhibiting artists, including the owner-director, Sir Coutts Lindsay, practiced art for pleasure rather than profi t. Painters, sculptors, writers, and musicians forged an artistic elite that mixed freely with the cream of London Society, a Bohemian world in which conventional class distinctions were of little account. Whistler declared that “[A]rt Is upon the Town!” as looking at pictures and high society coalesced, while George du Maurier, from the pages of Punch, opined that gallery-goers viewed the audience with greater interest than the art (Staley 63). Aesthetes looked extraordinary, acceptance into the Bohemian milieu signifi ed by unconventional dress and aloofness. To be an artist one had to dress artistically, a notion of difference infecting the audiences at the Grosvenor. To outsiders, so-called artistic costumes appeared “more or

less singular and ridiculous” (Gere 15). With art commodifi ed, those seeking cultural capital needed to be seen in the right place with the right people in the right clothes: “It was in 1880 that Private Views became necessary functions of fashion. I should like to have been at a Private View of the old Grosvenor Gallery. . . . What interesting folk! What a wonderful scene” (Beerbohm 275). At the Private Views, “The Clothes of the Period” were paraded: “For the pictures . . . they can be attended to at any time; but the Private View costumes are in that of the ‘limited quantity of pickled salmon,’ and cannot” (Anon 1881: 601) (Figure 3.1).