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.