Millais's painting, The Blind Girl, features an idyllic portrait of a blind street musician and her sister.
The heroine of Olive has a spinal deformity that allows her to lead an unconventional life.
Charlotte Yonge's family drama, The Pillars of the House features a lame female artist.
Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers features a femme fatale with a mysterious injury, Signora Neroni.
Wooden legs were often associated with lower class men in the nineteenth century, as in Our Mutual Friend.
Martin Tupper's "The Stammerer's Complaint" explores the male melancholy of stuttering.
in Anthony Trollope's The Bertrams, a female character is stigmatized by a prosthetic eye.
Eadward Muybridge's photographs from Animal Locomotion feature nude male and female subjects with unusual mobility patterns.
John Halifax, Gentleman explores male friendship and disability.
Gender played a crucial role in the perception of disability in the nineteenth century. As Martha Stoddard Holmes writes:
The distinction between abled and disabled bodies in Victorian culture (and our own) was produced partly in terms of the distinction between men and women and beliefs about what 'naturally' characterized each gender; the place where the two distinctions overlap is often the place where the meaning of disability is created in most influential and resilient ways. For example, if what distinguishes men from women is that the latter stay home and make money, the disabled woman's difference is often imaginitively marked by her working (or roaming the streets for alms), by the difficulty of her having her own home, and by the "impossibility" of her marrying and having children. The disabled man's difference, correspondingly, is that he either is tied to the domestic sphere or else roams the streets without a regular workplace... (Fictions of Affliction 94)
In this section, you can discover how disability affected nineteenth-century perceptions of womanliness and manliness, sometimes in ways that were freeing, as when Dinah Craik's disabled heroine, Olive, becomes an artist because she believes she will never marry, and sometimes in ways that were more troubling, as when Dickens's Silas Wegg's wooden leg acts as a marker of his lower class masculine status.