The history of women's struggles to establish themselves as professional artists in the Victorian period has been well rehearsed over the last twenty years or so. Many interesting points have emerged from the body of research, most notably with regard to career formation. The reasons for women's marginalization within a male-dominated art world define, by implication, the institutionalized culture of the ascendant art scene and its particular valuation of subject matter, style, technique and medium. This chapter suggests that Harriet Grote's radicalism or feminism loops back to issues concerning the productive power of the social body, rather than any real identification with communitarian ideals one might associate with the 'sisterhood' claims made by commentators. Women's activities working within or around institutions take on a particular significance in the light of the alternative values represented by Ruskinian aesthetic preoccupations. Issues of social or institutional coherence should not be collapsed into judgements about the merits of the work displayed at its exhibition.