My exegesis and artefact are intended to be read together. Although they stand as individual pieces of work, they have been written with the intention that they will ‘speak’ to each other in a symbiotic way. I recommend that the artefact be read first as this reflects the way the works were produced, giving the reader an authentic experience of this PhD by artefact and exegesis journey. The artefact comprises a neo-Victorian novel of some 80,000 words. It is set in both London and Melbourne in the year 1885. The novel is narrated in the first person by the main protagonist who is a fraudulent spiritualist medium. Some of the central themes of the novel are: nineteenth century femininity; spiritualism; madness and the meaning of friendship. A large section of the novel is set in the Kew Asylum. The exegesis is in three parts. The first part looks in detail at the areas that were most important while writing the first draft of the novel, utilising practice led research. These areas are: a discussion of the neo-Victorian genre; an exploration of how historical fiction writers incorporate research into their writing, and the difficultly of narrating a novel from the point-of-view of an unreliable and unlikable narrator. In the second part, the focus is on nineteenth century madness at both an experiential level, such as visiting museums, and a theoretical one, through academic research. The last section of the exegesis is devoted to the central research question of this project: the significance of clothing in the artefact and the importance of this as a writerly tool for the neo-Victorian novelist. Although clothing is only a minor theme in the novel, it comprises the major research focus of the exegesis. The research on clothing focuses specifically on three areas of most relevance to the artefact: clothing and class, clothing in the asylum, and the Victorian corset. This research is underpinned throughout by a feminist research methodology.