London and South Of England And Book Club Hiatus

The Pre-Raphaelite Society is sorry to announce that our London and Southern group and our online book club are on hiatus due to ill health on the part of our coordinator, Madeleine Pearce.

Our Bloomsbury walking tour on 13 May, the summer lecture, and the next book club are cancelled, but every effort will be made to reschedule them for future dates.

We will update members at the October AGM on the future of the group and our coordinator is looking for an assistant to join her in the running of activities.

If you would like to learn more about assisting or have any urgent queries please contact Madeleine Pearce, the London and Southern Group coordinator (nouveaudigital@gmail.com).

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Lecture by Colin Cruise, ‘The Cloister and the Laboratory: Rossetti between the Past and the Present’, June 24

Venue: John Peek Conference Room, Birmingham & Midland Institute, 9 Margaret Street, Birmingham – Lecture starts at 11.00 a.m. Reception from 10.30am.

In two early watercolours, ‘The Laboratory’ (1849, BMAG) and ‘Fra Pace’ (1856, private collection), Rossetti depicted scenes from distinct historical periods, the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. In doing so he contrasted not only their visual style but also the different values and morals of the cultures they represented to him. These works have only rarely considered in their own right and have never before been compared and contrasted. I do so in this talk in order to open up discussions about the artist’s wider aesthetic programme. The dates of these works are crucial – the first being at the start of Rossetti’s involvement with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the second at a point when the Brotherhood began to dissolve. Yet there is a dialogue between the two works that I uncover and explore here. In their different ways these watercolours look forward to themes worked out by Rossetti in more familiar paintings, a discussion of which forms the second half of this paper.

Colin Cruise is Professor of Art History at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. He has written widely on nineteenth-century art and the Pre-Raphaelites. In recent years he was guest curator for two exhibitions for BMAG, ‘Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites’ and ‘The Poetry of Drawing’. His current research project is a study of the drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

For further details relating to the event mentioned above please email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org.

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Lecture by Patrick Baty ‘The Artists of the Artists Rifles’, May 13

Venue: John Peek Conference Room, Birmingham & Midland Institute, 9 Margaret Street, Birmingham – Lecture starts at 11.00 a.m. Reception from 10.30am.

The Artists Rifles was one of the more curious regiments of the British Army. It was formed in 1860 by a group of painters, architects, poets, sculptors, musicians and actors who were concerned about a possible invasion by the French. Early members included most of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, William Morris, Frederic, Lord Leighton and even the poet and novelist Algernon Swinburne. Admittedly, some were more effective as soldiers than others – Morris seemed to have trouble with drill; Rossetti questioned every order and Ford Madox Brown managed to shoot his own dog when first on the rifle range. However, Millais was a capable soldier and was elected one of the original officers. Leighton was also a natural leader and commanded the regiment for many years, Whistler describing him as “Colonel of the Royal Academy and the President of the Artists Rifles – aye, and he paints a little!” The regiment was the natural choice for young men of an artistic persuasion in 1914 and well-known artists like John and Paul Nash, the poets Edward Thomas and Wilfred Owen and the playwright Noel Coward wore the uniform of the Artists Rifles. In view of the calibre of men serving in its ranks it became an officer-producing unit and turned out over 10,000 officers for service in other regiments during WWI. Members of the regiment won more gallantry awards than any other.

Patrick Baty is a specialist on the architectural use of colour in historic buildings. His work covers research, paint analysis, colour & technical advice and colour surveys. Projects have ranged from King Henry VIII’s heraldic Beasts; Baroque churches; country houses; wartime RAF stations and London social housing estates to structures such as Tower Bridge and Holborn Viaduct. He also works in the USA. Patrick’s first book ‘The Anatomy of Colour’ is published by Thames & Hudson in May 2017. He served in the regiment for ten years.

For further details relating to the event mentioned above please email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org.

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Latest issue of ‘The Review’ out now- Vol. XXIV, No. 3, Autumn 2016 (Special Colour Issue)

The latest edition of ‘The Review’, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, Autumn 2016, is now available. Members receive ‘The Review’ for free but copies can also be purchased by non-members. Please email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org for details.

  1. “A ‘Damned Proeraphaelite’? George du Maurier’s Ekphrastic Drawings for Good Words, Once a Week and The Cornhill (1860-65)” by Francoise Baillet.
  2. “Edward Burne-Jones’s The Planets: The Cartoon of Mars at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery” by Liana De Girolami Cheney.
  3. “’Images of Desire’: Twenty Sketches by Simeon Solomon (1868)” by Carolyn Conroy.
  4. “Symbolic Realism: Science and the Poetic in early Pre-Raphaelite Painting” by Lea Felicitas Doding.
  5. “James Smetham: Wesleyan Pre-Raphaelite” by Peter S. Forsaith.
  6. “”Her False Crafts”: Morgan Le Fay and the Wild Women of Sandys’s Imagination” by Sally-Anne Huxtable.
  7. “Music & Memory: John Roddam Spencer Stanhope’s The Gentle Music of a Bygone Day and William Morris’s The Earthly Paradise” by Simon Poe.
  8. “The Problematic Art of Ilustrating ‘Moxon’s Tennyson’” by Heather Stevenson.

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Visit: Biddulph Old Hall, Stoke-on-Trent with tour by Nigel Daly, 22 April

Biddulph Old Hall is the historic home of the Biddulph family from which the town gets its name. The inhabited house was originally a small single cell hunting lodge which was developed into the family’s principal residence, part-stone, part-timber framed. Around 1530, a new mansion was commenced alongside the existing manor, and this was described as “Mr Biddulph’s Fair New House of Stone” in contemporary accounts. The house had the involvement or influence of Robert Smythson in its architecture. The Biddulphs were Recusant Catholics and so by about 1580 were being fined heavily so work stopped. No further development was achieved before the house was caught up in a siege during the English Civil War in February 1644, after which it was brought to ruin. The family never rebuilt the new mansion, instead restoring the earlier house which still survives today.

The house was sold out of the family for the first time in 1861, when it was bought by James Bateman, the creator of the famous gardens at Biddulph Grange, now in the care of the National Trust. His youngest son Robert created a studio there, and from 1871 had a lifetime tenancy on the house, painting many of his best known works in the house. Many of his artistic circle visited. During the 20th century the house slowly slipped into disrepair but has been restored by Nigel Daly and Brian Vowles, who have also created a Briar Rose garden within the remaining upstanding ruins. Currently three of Robert Bateman’s original works are on show in the house.

We will be treated to a tour of the house by the owner Nigel Daly with tea and cakes after the tour and free time to explore.

For further details relating to the event mentioned above please email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org.

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Treasurer and Membership Secretary posts for the Pre-Raphaelite Society

Michael Wollaston will be standing down as Treasurer and Vice-Chairman of the Society at the forthcoming AGM in October 2017, after serving on the Committee for twenty years. The PRS would like to hear from anyone who might be interested in taking on the role of either Treasurer or the newly created post of Membership Secretary, from November 2017. The main duties of the two posts are described as follows:

Treasurer – the main duties are to maintain the accounting records for the Society; make payments to lecturers, event venues, printers and other suppliers, reimburse committee member expenses, etc.; to receive and bank cheques from miscellaneous parties; produce monthly bank reconciliations; produce bi-monthly accounts for committee meetings plus an annual Treasurer’s Report for presentation at the Annual General Meeting; prepare and submit an annual HM Revenue & Customs Gift Aid claim. The Treasurer would need to attend the five committee meetings plus the Annual General Meeting held in Birmingham each year and will need to be resident in the UK. Expenses such as stationary and postage will be reimbursed.

Membership Secretary – the main duties for this newly created post are to maintain membership records including status spreadsheets and address label files; to monitor the collection of membership subscriptions through the issue of annual renewal and reminder notices; to receive new member applications; to receive and bank cheques from members and to respond to member queries. Ideally the Membership Secretary would be able to attend the five committee meetings plus the Annual General Meeting held in Birmingham each year and will need to be resident in the UK. Expenses such as stationary and postage will be reimbursed.
To make an enquiry or to discuss the duties more fully, please contact Michael Wollaston on either 01676 530512 or 07739 892309 or email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org. Send applications for both posts including curriculum vitae to info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org. Closing date for applications: 30th September 2017.

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Lectureby Wendy Holborow – ‘Work’ Forward Motion, March 18

Venue: John Peek Conference Room, Birmingham & Midland Institute, 9 Margaret Street, Birmingham – Lecture starts at 11.00 a.m. Reception from 10.30am.

Please note that there is a change of speaker for this event to that previously advertised.

In 1864, Ford Madox Brown declared that ‘the finished canvas embodies no less than the work of my life.’ He was referring to his painting ‘Work’ which took more than eleven years to complete, eventually aided by regular instalments of money from his patron Thomas Plint. This lecture will look at Ford Madox Brown’s painting ‘Work’ through a collection of poems and a short play. The corona of sonnets in the series, won first place in this Society’s 2016 competition. The poems take many poetic forms such as the sonnets, but also a Mesostic and several open field poems. Much of the narrative is a figment of my imagination, backed up with research on the painting and the social commentary of Victorian England. It has been said that the painting had radical implications by placing the working man at the top, rather than at the bottom of society’s hierarchy of value. I am not an artist in pictures, but in words, as I have said in my poem ‘Our Painter’:

Your lithic patience, work of ethics,
limned – yours and mine in tandem.
I shadow your images
with a translation, an explanation.

Wendy Holborow, winner of The Pre-Raphaelite Society 2016 poetry prize, poet, playwright and story writer. She was born in South Wales, UK, but lived in Greece for fourteen years where she founded and co-edited Poetry Greece. She has won prizes for poetry some of which have appeared in Agenda, Envoi, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, and many others internationally. She was awarded a poetry Mentorship with Literature Wales in 2012 and has just completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Swansea University (with distinction). She was selected as an International Merit Award winner by the Atlanta Review in 2015 and 2016. Poetry Salzburg published her collection After the Silent Phone Call (2015) and An Italian Afternoon from Indigo Dreams is forthcoming this year. The book Work’s Forward Motion, (2017) will be available after the lecture.

For further details relating to the event mentioned above please email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org.

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