WHAT IS THE DILETTANTE?
The Dilettante is an independent magazine offering an eclectic mix of creativity, art history, curious culture and vintage glamour. We write for creative outcasts and artists, culture magpies and lifelong learners, history enthusiasts and dabblers, and anyone who doesn't take themselves too seriously.
Established in 2014 as a creative society and small broadside zine based in Nottingham, UK, The Dilettante has now evolved into a beautifully crafted 100 page magazine. The first issue was published in December 2021 and you can read a preview by clicking here!
Within its pages, The Dilettante spotlights the wonderful, creative and odd corners of the world, offering a rich mix of topics from history and humour to advice and inspiration. Mining art and culture from the past and present, we look to those who have lived unique or daring lives, to the artists, eccentrics, rebels and renegades who have embellished history with their compelling stories and ideas. Enjoy ruminations on music history and explorations on etymology. Delve into the workings of creativity, find out how others did it before, and discover new art and design.
The Dilettante is intended as a quality distraction from the humdrum, the screens and the noise of the modern world. A place of whimsical humour, playfulness and curiosity. It is best served with a good tipple.
ARE YOU A DILETTANTE?
An admirer or lover of the fine arts; popularly, an amateur; especially, one who follows an art or a branch of knowledge, desultorily, or for amusement only.
Derived from the Italian past participle dilettare, meaning ‘to delight’, Dilettante entered the English language in the mid-eighteenth century to refer to a person who delights in the arts.
As attitudes to the arts evolved over time so did the word's meaning, and by the early 19th century dilettante became a derogatory slur suggesting superficiality, or someone who shouldn’t be taken seriously. No longer was it admirable to be an interested amateur with a wide range of interests, or to enrich one's life through varied creative pursuits, instead a dilettante became known as a dabbler and a somewhat pretentious one at that.
If you have ever felt like an amateur or a jack of all trades, if you happily try your hand at a range of creative pursuits, if you are endlessly curious about the world, then perhaps you too are a dilettante.
To hear our story, read on.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
The Dilettante was founded on a chilly December afternoon in 2014 when two friends, down on life, met for a few strong gins.
Bothersome standards of creative perfection had burdened the pair for too long and neither could work out what the hell they wanted to do with their lives. They both longed to find a thing - a particular medium to pursue or an art to throw themselves into - but with such a range of interests they had each been feeling creatively paralysed. It was time to hatch a plan and start making something.
The conversation turned to the concept of the dilettante, which seemed a perfect nom de guerre to match their current predicament. Opting to embrace the dilettante's playful exploration of creativity, they decided that the freedom to play, explore and exercise curiosity was perhaps the answer to their problems.
As the gin did its thing they said some cheers and settled to stuff the snobs who sneer at beginners and the critics who snub the unfamiliar. The Dilettante would serve the dabblers, the outcasts, the culture magpies and anyone who felt disjointed from the modern world of perpetual perfection and mediocre distraction.
The Dilettante Society was formed to round up the creative weirdos in their home city of Nottingham, and The Dilettante Gazette was born, taking the form of a free broadside zine. Take a gander at all 34 editions here!
Over the years, The Dilettante has since evolved, incorporating creative events and workshops and collaborations with brands and businesses. After dipping our toes into the world of digital publishing, we decided the the quiet, tangible nature of print was more suited to The Dilettante spirit, and in December 2021 The Dilettante magazine was finally born.
Sophie first sprang to life in Belle Époque Paris as a classy vagabond and flower girl. A self-proclaimed moustache fancier and flaneuse, she enjoys psychogeography, collecting floor treasure, and learning about history's great eccentrics.
Having quit her day job in 2018 to study a masters in Magazine Journalism, today Sophie cobbles a living as a freelance writer, marketer and designer.