Lecture by Claire Yearwood Munn – ‘Mirrors in Pre-Raphaelite Art’ 23 July

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

This lecture looks at the motif of the convex mirror in Pre-Raphaelite painting and considers how it can contribute to a fresh reading of their works. Although overlooked as a critical element in Pre-Raphaelite imagery, mirrors appear in at least thirty pictures by the original members of the Brotherhood, not including artists from the ‘second wave’ such as Edward Burne-Jones, warranting a reconsideration of the object as a distinguishing mark of the movement. Rather than relegate the mirror to a role of a purely decorative background accessory, Pre-Raphaelite artists such as Holman Hunt and D.G. Rossetti emphasise the mirror within the visual, narrative and symbolic structure of their images. The Pre-Raphaelite use of the mirror constitutes a specific re-presentation of modern life and establishes a visual dialogue between the original members of the PRB and their later followers in spite of seemingly opposing stylistic variations.

Claire is currently finishing her PhD in History of Art at the University of York under supervision by Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn. Her dissertation, entitled The Looking-Glass World: Mirrors in Pre-Raphaelite Painting, 1850-1915, analyses the mirror as a significant Pre-Raphaelite motif that contributes to identifying the movement as an avant-garde response to nineteenth-century modern life through a unique framework of historical iconography and contemporary glass. Claire’s interest in mirrors began in 2006 during research for her MPhil in History of Art and Connoisseurship at Christie’s Education in London. Originally from New
Orleans, she spent several years lecturing in the U.S. before coming across Isobel Armstrong’s book published in 2008, Victorian Glassworlds: Glass Culture and the Imagination 1830-1880, which motivated her to begin exploring mirrors again full-time.

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

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London Lecture: An Evening of Pre-Raphaelite Lectures at SPAB, 20 June

Venue: The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, In the Committee Room, 37 Spital Square, London, E1 6DY – Lecture starts at 6:30 p.m.

Zaynub Zaman will present ‘Talking that Talk: negative speech in the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’, based on her Pickard Prize-winning essay. Anne Stutchbury will present ‘Instruments of Femininity: the Arnold Dolmetsch clavichords of 1897, Nos. 8 and 10’, which discusses the iconography in the decorations by Helen Fry and Edward Burne-Jones. Clavichord No.10 was in Tate Britain’s ‘Pre-Raphaelites Victorian Avant-Garde’ exhibition and is currently at Standen.

Zaynub Zaman is the 2014 Pickard Prize Winner and undertaking a PhD at the University of Liverpool, tracing the presence of Dante Alighieri in the poetical and pictorial works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti with particular focus on medieval mysticism and sexuality.

Anne Stutchbury is currently finishing an AHRC funded, collaborative PhD research project with the National Trust at Standen in West Sussex. Her doctoral research of Standen and the Beale family began in 2012.

The London and Southern Group lecture series is designed to present the very latest in Pre-Raphaelite research to members in a supportive environment. If you are a postgraduate student, early career professional, or an independent scholar we are accepting abstracts.

ADMISSION: £5.00 payable in advance, including free tea and coffee. Please note that events/entrance tickets are not issued in advance. Pre-booking is mandatory. The Society reserves the right to allocate places on a first-come, first served basis where demand for places exceeds venue capacity. All SPAB members and PRS members are welcome.

For further details relating to the event mentioned above please email nouveaudigital@gmail.com.

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‘Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion’ Twitter competition!

Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion runs at the Walker Art Gallery until 5 June

As Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion at the Walker Art Gallery enters its final few weeks, we’re excited to be able to offer the chance to win a signed exhibition catalogue to Pre-Raphaelite Society Twitter followers. The 128-page, full-colour publication by writer, art historian and curator, Christopher Newall, features more than 100 works by celebrated Pre-Raphaelite artists.

Containing new, fascinating research the book positions Liverpool as the Victorian art capital of the north and examines the patrons and painters in Liverpool who embraced the Pre-Raphaelite movement. The book explores the relationship between artists such as Ford Madox Brown and Rossetti and their Liverpool contemporaries, collectors and the institutions that welcomed them, notably the forward-thinking Liverpool Academy. Featuring insights from contributing writers Ann Bukantas and David Taylor patronage is explored as an important aspect of British artistic culture in the 19th century.

Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion Catalogue

To win a signed copy of the catalogue follow the Pre-Raphaelite Society on Twitter (@PreRaphSoc), like and share one of the competition tweets, and answer the following question by Direct Message to  @PreRaphSoc*:

What year did the Walker Art Gallery open?
a. 1875
b. 1880
c. 1877

Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion runs at the Walker Art Gallery until 5 June. The catalogue is available to buy online.
*Terms & Conditions
• This promotion is open to all residents in the UK aged 18 or over, excluding employees of National Museums Liverpool, Pre-Raphaelite Society committee members, their agents, or anyone who is professionally associated with this promotion.
• Entry to the competition is possible via Twitter: Follow the Pre-Raphaelite Society Twitter page, retweet and like one of the competition tweets, and direct message @PreRaphSoc with your answer.
• Entrants must enter the competition using Twitter. No other entries are accepted.
• Prize for the competition is one signed exhibition catalogue for Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion and includes postage within the mainland UK.
• The promotion is open until 23:59pm 05/06/16.
• The winner will be selected at random and will be notified via Direct Message on Twitter.
• The Promoter will not be liable for entries not received. No bulk or third party entries accepted.
• The Prize is as stated and cannot be transferred, sold, or exchanged. There is no cash alternative. The promoter reserves the right to substitute the prizes of equal or greater value in the event of unavailability due to circumstances beyond their control.
• The winners will be notified within 7 working days of the closing date via Direct Message on Twitter. In the event of the claim for a prize not being received within 14 working days, the promoter reserves the right to select an alternative winner.
• By entering the promotion, entrants agree to be bound by the rules and the winners consent to participate in any reasonable publicity required for and on behalf of the promoters.

National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside (NMGM) is an exempt charity by virtue of Schedule 3 to the Charities Act 2011. National Museums Liverpool, 127 Dale Street, Liverpool, L2 2JH.

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Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion at the Walker Art Gallery, until 5 June

The Walker Art Gallery will display more than 120 paintings by leading Pre-Raphaelite artists as part of a major new exhibition, Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion, which runs from 12 February to 5 June 2016.

National Museums Liverpool has worked with one of the world’s leading Pre-Raphaelite experts, Christopher Newall, to produce an exhibition which reveals, through some of the most enduring and popular works of the period, how the northern art scene rivalled London in Victorian England. Paintings on loan from institutions and private collections across the UK will feature alongside key pieces from National Museums Liverpool’s own collections. Many of the privately owned works have never been on public display before.

Christopher Newall, curator of the exhibition, said: “Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion will reveal, for the very first time, how the city of Liverpool influenced a movement that would change the course of British art in the 19th century.“The support of the city of Liverpool was invaluable in establishing and positioning Pre-Raphaelitism within the Victorian art world. This exhibition will explore different aspects of patronage, art politics and of the careers of the artists who lived in Liverpool in a way that no exhibition has previously done.”

Through renowned works by Pre-Raphaelite masters including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, the exhibition will explore the significance of the Liverpool Academy and the city’s Autumn Exhibitions, which enabled the movement to flourish. The exhibition will also introduce the collectors who were both friends and supporters of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Collectors such as John Miller, Frederick Richards Leyland and George and Julia Rae enabled these revolutionary painters to change the face of British art in the 19th century. In addition to exploring some of the subject matter traditionally associated with Pre-Raphaelite paintings, including portraiture, religion and mythology, the exhibition will showcase a number of works depicting scenes of rural life and recognisable British landscapes, notably those by Liverpool painters including William Davis, James Campbell and William JJC Bond.

Tickets for Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion are available to purchase online, priced at £7 for adults and £5 for concessions, or on the day at the Walker Art Gallery. The exhibition is free to anyone aged 18 and under and discounted tickets are available for existing members of National Museums Liverpool and other selected groups. New members can enjoy their first entry into the exhibition for free. For further information, and to purchase tickets or become a member of National Museums Liverpool, visit: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/preraphaelites

Accompanied by a full-colour 128-page catalogue, the exhibition also presents fascinating new research into Liverpool artist John Ingle Lee and renowned collector John Miller, through the legacy of the glorious artworks they left behind.

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Rossetti Revealed: Pre-Raphaelite beauty stars in first public display

135 years after it was painted a little known Pre-Raphaelite treasure goes on public display for the first time in Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion, which runs at the Walker Art Gallery from 12 February to 5 June 2016.

The Salutation of Beatrice (1881/2) by Dante Gabrielle Rossetti represents a familiar theme to the artist. His muse Jane Morris is cast as Beatrice Portinari, the subject of medieval poet Dante Alighieri’s unrequited love. The figure of Beatrice dominates the foreground with her beguiling expression and the trademark of Pre-Raphaelite beauty, an abundance of tumbling auburn locks.

Over Beatrice’s shoulder the forlorn Dante can be seen comforted under Love’s wings and beyond, the arches of medieval Italy.

The painting illustrates the lines from the second sonnet in Dante’s Vita Nuova (New Life) and lines from the poem can be found on the frame.

The fascinating oil paintings belonged to Rossetti’s friend and major patron Frederick Leyland, a Liverpool-born ship owner and art collector. It is accompanied by Monna Rosa (1867) a portrait of Leyland’s wife, which has not been on public display for more than 140 years and a coloured chalk portrait by Rossetti of Leyland (made in 1870) which has also never been previously exhibited.

All three works, still in the possession of Leyland’s descendants, will be displayed together for the first time at the Walker and underpin a major theme of the exhibition, an exploration of the roles of the collectors to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Alongside Leyland, collectors such as John Miller and George and Julia Rae enabled these revolutionary painters to change the face of British art in the 19th century.

Ann Bukantas Head of Fine Art at National Museums Liverpool said: “The Salutation of Beatrice is a significant addition to the exhibition. For an art movement as enduringly popular as the Pre-Raphaelites it is rare to uncover paintings such as this which are not well documented.

“In subject matter and style it is typical of Rossetti and we know our visitors will relish the chance to get a close look at the painting for the first time.

“We are thrilled to be showing these three works together for the first time. As arguably Rossetti’s most significant patron, this focus on work Leyland commissioned and bought helps us understand the dynamics of their relationship.”

National Museums Liverpool is grateful to Guy Schwinge of Duke’s Auctioneers for his role in securing these exciting loans.

Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion features more than 120 paintings by leading Pre-Raphaelite artists.

National Museums Liverpool has worked with one of the world’s leading Pre-Raphaelite experts, Christopher Newall, to produce an exhibition which reveals, through some of the most enduring and popular works of the period, how the northern art scene rivalled London in Victorian England.

Tickets for Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion are available to purchase online, priced at £7 for adults and £5 for concessions, or on the day at the Walker Art Gallery. The exhibition is free to anyone aged 18 and under and discounted tickets are available for existing members of National Museums Liverpool and other selected groups.

New members can enjoy their first entry into the exhibition for free. For further information, and to purchase tickets or become a member of National Museums Liverpool, visit: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/preraphaelites

A catalogue will accompany the exhibition.


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Book club: Paula Batchelor’s ‘Angel with Bright Hair’ 16 June

Our next book club has been moved and will take place at 7pm on Thursday the 16th of June in upstairs seating area of Penderel’s Oak (pub), 283-288 High Holborn, London WC1V 7HP. We will be reading Angel with Bright Hair by Paula Batchelor, available used from Amazon or Abe Books. All Society members, prospective members, and friends are welcome to attend.

We are trialling Eventbrite for the book club; if it works we may roll out this conveienent and easy way to sign up to all L&S events! Please RSVP before June 14th at http://preraphaelite-society-book-club-5.eventbrite.co.uk The long list to pick the next book is also here (suggestions welcome!)

If you have any questions about the book club, please contact Madeleine Pearce, the London and Southern Group coordinator at nouveaudigital@gmail.com.

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Contribute to London and Southern Group Book Club voting list

The London and Southern Group Book Club invites all PRS members to contribute to our book list. Each meeting, members vote for their favourite books from the list, to determine the book for the next club meeting. All PRS members an prospective members are welcome to attend the books club meetings, which are held on evenings and weekends throughout the year in central London. Best of all it is FREE!

We encourage you to email Madeleine, the London and Southern Group coordinator, at nouveaudigital@gmail.com with your favourite Pre-Raphaelite fiction and non-fiction works.

The books for 2015 were Stunner: The Fall and Rise of Fanny Cornforth by Kirsty Stonell Walker, Rossetti’s Wombat: Pre-Raphaelites and Australian Animals in Victorian London by John Simons, and A Circle of Sisters by Judith Flanders . For 2016 we had Jan Marsh’s The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal and coming up Thursday 16 June  Angel with Bright Hair by Paula Batchelor.

Our current list is below, with Amazon links:

Violet: The Story of the Irrepressible Violet Hunt and Her Circle by Barbara Belford– “Drawing on newly discovered diaries and other papers in which the intrigues of the drawing room, ballroom, and bedroom are meticulously described, Barbara Belford has written an absorbing biography of a fascinating, strong-willed woman who lived years ahead of her time.”
Possession by A. S. Byatt– “Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets.”
The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination by Fiona MacCarthy- “The most admired British artist of his generation, he was a leading figure with Oscar Wilde in the aesthetic movement of the 1880s, inventing what became a widespread ‘Burne-Jones look’. The bridge between Victorian and modern art, he influenced not just his immediate circle but artists such as Klimt and Picasso.”
The Rossettis in Wonderland by Dinah Roe- “The exiled Italian poet Gabriele Rossetti arrived in London in 1824 with a few letters of introduction, little money and less English. But within one generation, he would bequeath his new city with a remark- able cultural legacy through the accomplishments of his children. There was the poet and Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel, the poet and religious thinker Christina, the nun and Dante Alighieri scholar Maria, and William, who combined a life of English letters with a successful career in finance.”
My Grandfather, His Wives and Loves by Diana Holman-Hunt- “This is the story of the first fifty years of Holman-Hunt’s private life[…]”
The Renaissance Studies in Art and Poetry by Walter Pater- “Walter Pater is increasingly being referred to by modern critics as an important precursor of modernist aesthetic theory. His study, The Renaissance, was also very influential in its own day, particularly on the work of Oscar Wilde who described it as ‘my golden book…the very flower of decadence'”
Into The Frame: The Four Loves of Ford Madox Brown by Angela Thirlwell- “Madox Brown, who grew up in France and Belgium before he came to England and won fame with paintings like ‘The Last of England’, was always an outsider, and the women he loved also burst out of stereotypes. His two wives, Elisabeth Bromley and Emma Hill, and his secret passions, the artist Marie Spartali and the author Mathilde Blind, were all remarkable personalities, from very different backgrounds.”
A Pre-Raphaelite Journey: The Art of Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale by Pamela Gerrish Nunn- “Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (1872-1945) was an accomplished painter, illustrator and designer whose artistic life bridged the Victorian and modern worlds. Her work was much influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite artists whose love of detail, colour, symbolism, storytelling and nature was so hugely influential on mid Victorian Britain.”
Mortal Love by Elizabeth Hand– “In the Victorian Age, a mysterious and irresistible woman becomes entwined in the lives of several artists, both as a muse and as the object of all-consuming obsession. Radborne Comstock, one of the early twentieth century’s most brilliant young painters, is helpless under her dangerous spell. In modern-day London, journalist Daniel Rowlands meets a beguiling woman who holds the secret to invaluable — and lost — Pre-Raphaelite paintings, while wealthy dilettante-actor Valentine Comstock is consumed by enigmatic visions.”
Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers- “Adelaide McKee, a former prostitute, arrives on the doorstep of veterinary doctor John Crawford, a man she met once seven years earlier and the father of her only child, long presumed dead. She has recently learned that the girl lives – but her life and soul are sought by a ghostly vampire. And this is no ordinary spirit; the bloodthirsty wraith is that of John Polidori, Lord Byron’s doctor…”
Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives Of The Pre Raphaelites by Franny Moyle- “Their Bohemian lifestyle and intertwined love affairs shockingly broke 19th Century class barriers and bent the rules that governed the roles of the sexes. The influential critic, writer and artist John Ruskin was their father figure and his apostles included the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the designer William Morris. The saga is brought to life through the vivid letters and diaries kept by the group and the accounts written by their contemporaries.”
Pre-Raphaelites in Love by Gay Daly- “A portrait of the Pre-Raphaelites and the women they loved and painted. It describes the scandals, betrayed lovers, secret dalliances, endless engagements, stormy marriages and suicides that affected this group.”
Lizzie Siddal by Lucinda Hawksley- “Saved from the drudgery of a working-class existence by a young Pre-Raphaelite artist, Lizzie Siddal rose to become one of the most famous faces in Victorian Britain and a pivotal figure of London’s artistic world, until tragically ending her young life in a laudanum-soaked suicide in 1862.”
The Dreaming Damozel by Mollie Hardwick- “This is the sixth murder mystery to involve the Abbotsbourne ex-vicar and wife team of crime solvers, Doran and Rodney Chelmarsh. The novel begins with the discovery of a corpse floating in the river like the drowned Ophelia.”
Sleep, Pale Sister by Joanne Harris- Sleep, Pale Sister, a powerful, atmospheric and blackly gothic evocation of Victorian artistic life, was originally published before Joanne Harris achieved worldwide recognition with Chocolat. Henry Chester, a domineering and puritanical Victorian artist, is in search of the perfect model. In nine-year-old Effie he finds her. Ten years later, lovely, childlike and sedated, Effie seems the ideal wife. But something inside her is about to awaken.”
The Stones of Venice by John Ruskin- “John Ruskin, Victorian England’s greatest writer on art and literature, believed himself an adopted son of Venice, and his feelings for this city are exquisitely expressed in The Stones of Venice. This edition contains Ruskin’s famous essay “The Nature of Gothic,” a marvelously descriptive tour of Venice before its postwar restoration.”
Ivy by Julie Hearn- “The only beautiful thing in Ivy’s drab life is her glorious red hair. At a young age, her locks made her the target of Carroty Kate, a ‘skinner’. She recruited Ivy to help her coax wealthy children away from their nannies so that she could strip them of their clothes – clothes worth a fortune in the markets of Petticoat Lane. It is years before Ivy escapes and finds her way back to her in-laws. Once there, she finds respite in laudanum. But before she can settle into a stupor and forget the terrible things she has done, Ivy is spotted by a wealthy pre-Raphaelite painter. ”
Pre-Raphaelites at Home by Pamela Todd- “Pamela Todd turns her attention to the fiery group of young artists, designers and thinkers, led by the charismatic figure of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, which, in 1848, came together as the semi-secret Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.”
Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais by Suzanne Fagence Cooper- “The scandalous love triangle at the heart of the Victorian art world. Effie Gray, a Scottish beauty, was the heroine of a great Victorian love story. Married at nineteen to John Ruskin, she found herself trapped in a loveless and unconsummated union. When her husband invited his protégé John Everett Millais away on holiday, Effie and Millais fell in love.”
Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poets and Politics by Isobel Armstrong- “In a comprehensive and theoretically astute study, Armstrong rescues Victorian poetry from its images as a `moralised form of romantic verse’ and unearths its often subversive critique of nineteenth-century culture and politics.”
The Pre-Raphaelites: From Rossetti to Ruskin by Dinah Roe- “The Pre-Raphaelite Movement began in 1848, and experienced its heyday in the 1860s and 1870s. Influenced by the then little-known Keats and Blake, as well as Wordsworth, Shelley and Coleridge, Pre-Raphaelite poetry ‘etherialized sensation’ (in the words of Antony Harrison), and popularized the notion ofl’art pour l’art – art for art’s sake.”

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