Special offer on PRS membership … you can now purchase 15 months membership for the price of 12!

From the 1st October there is a special offer for new members who join before December 31st – You can buy the equivalent of 15 months membership for the cost of 12 months. You’ll receive numerous benefits including the Review and PRSUS Newsletter, special book offers, details of Society lectures in Birmingham and visits across the UK, and free inclusion in our regional groups.

Our newest regional group, based in London, accommodates members in London and the South of England. The group is a chance for members to gather in a relaxed and casual atmosphere to socialize and enjoy activities such a pub meets, a quarterly book club, local visits to museums and galleries, walks, and tours of Pre-Raphaelite landmarks.

Fees start at only £13 for consessions and £16 for individuals, with further discounts for standing orders. We also now accept Paypal!

For further details, please visit our membership page or email us info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org.


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Immersive candlelit theatre comes to William Morris’s Red House

‘If I Can’, candlelit sound play at Red House

A dark, gothic antidote to the candlelit Yuletide backdrop

A dark, gothic antidote to the candlelit Yuletide backdrop

Experience an immersive new sound play from Palimpsest this winter at the National Trust’s Red House.

Encounter themes of loss and longing in the 1860s as the sensory drama is presented twice each night through audio and live actors. A range of tales will be explored as you roam freely throughout the arts and crafts enclave, complete with drink in hand.

Atmospheric, ghostly and unspeakably sad, ‘If I Can’ is a narrative poem, fusing the extant shards of poetry and prose of those Pre-Raphaelites that built and embellished Red House.

With Red House populated by Palimpsest actors in character costumes, you will choose whom to follow as their lives spool out; as if the very walls could speak and give up their secrets. Performances dates are: 26 November, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 December 7:30pm & 8:30pm and tickets are £25 each.

“This is a unique and exciting new way to experience the stories of one of the most influential groups of artists and the house they created together.”
Robynn Finney, House & gardens Manager, Red House

‘If I Can’ is written by Katherine Tozer for Palimpsest, with music and sound by John Chambers.

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Lecture by Dr Angie Dunstan – ‘Shaping the Invisible Sculptor’: The Life’s Work of Thomas Woolner PRB RA’ 19 Nov

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

In 1850, the first issue of The Germ opened with a poem by Thomas Woolner, the only ‘poetical sculptor’ of the original Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Woolner’s initial prominence in the movement, however, has been obscured by the works, lives and afterlives of his painter brethren, and by what Woolner himself considered to be the public preference for painting over sculpture. Yet Woolner became one of the most successful sculptors of the Victorian era. His name was initially made through producing memorials and portrait medallions of literary celebrities, before he undertook large and popular public works including his bust of Cardinal Newman (1867), the Embankment’s John Stuart Mill (1878), and Sydney’s Captain Cook (1879). Despite these successful works, in a letter of 1885 Woolner bemoaned what he perceived to be the neglect and corresponding declining cultural value of his profession, describing the era as ‘these bad times for sculpture’.

This paper returns our gaze to Woolner, drawing on long forgotten archives to consider perhaps the most interesting Pre-Raphaelite myth which, she argues, Woolner constructed himself; that of his neglect. While we might join Woolner in reading his omission from histories of Pre-Raphaelitism as symptomatic of sculpture’s lowly status in the nineteenth-century hierarchies of art, I also believe that Woolner precipitated his historical neglect by framing it as such during his lifetime. After analysing his correspondence, diaries and lectures, sge would like to suggest that Woolner effectively wrote himself out of Pre-Raphaelitism as he considered his perceived neglect as allegorical of the nineteenth-century neglect of sculpture. By inhabiting the borders of Pre-Raphaelitism, despite his lifelong adherence to its principles, Woolner self-consciously drew attention to the state of Victorian sculpture and his fears for its future.

Angie Dunstan has taught Victorian literature at Oxford (University College), the University of London (Goldsmiths), and the University of Sydney. She completed her doctorate on ‘The Afterlives of Elizabeth Siddal’ at the University of Sydney, and is completing a manuscript on the Pre-Raphaelite roman à clef. Angie’s research considers the relationship between nineteenth-
century literary, visual and celebrity cultures and she has published in The British Art Journal, Burlington Magazine, Modern Language Quarterly, and several edited collections including William Morris and the Art of Everyday Life (2010). She has published articles on Victorian sculpture and Thomas Woolner in 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
and in the Journal of Australasian Victorian Studies. She is also guest editing a special issue of 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century on ‘Victorian Sculpture’ to be published in 2016.

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

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Poetry Competition and Essay Prize

The John Pickard Essay Prize 2016

You are invited to enter a monograph of not more than 2000 words for The John Pickard Essay Prize. The monograph may be on any individual related to the Pre-Raphaelite circle.

The winner will receive £100 prize and publication in the Spring 2017 Review and subsequently the essays of runners-up may also be published. The final decision will be made by the Committee of the Pre-Raphaelite Society.

Entries are to be received by the Editor by 31st December 2016, and may be emailed to Serena Trowbridge.

The Pre-Raphaelite Society Poetry Prize 2016

Rules for Entry

1st Prize: £50

The three winning poems will be published in the Pre-Raphaelite Society’s Review, along with two Commended poems.


  • Entry is open to all writers of any nationality, aged 18 years and over.
  • The competition will be judged by the Editor of the Society’s Review, Serena Trowbridge; and by the Society’s Poet-in-Residence, Sarah Doyle. All entries will be seen by both judges.
  • Poems may be in any style, but must be written in English.
  • Poems must in some way reflect an aspect (or aspects) of the lives or works of the Pre‑Raphaelite Brotherhood or their broader circle.
  • Every poem should be accompanied by a brief (maximum 100 words) explanation of how the poem relates to the Pre-Raphaelites.
  • Poems must be typed/printed on A4 paper; hand-written entries are not permitted.
  • The maximum length for each poem is 100 lines.
  • The closing date for the competition is 31st December 2016.
  • A maximum of three poems per entrant may be submitted.
  • Entry is £2 per poem, or £5 for the maximum of three poems


  • Poems must be the entrant’s own work.
  • Poems may not have been previously published – in print, electronically or online; nor broadcast via any means (including podcasting); nor exhibited in a public place.
  • Poems should not be submitted for consideration elsewhere during the competition and during the subsequent period of adjudication.
  • Winning poems should not be submitted for publication elsewhere prior to appearing in theReview.
  • Poems may not have won a prize in previous competitions.
  • Poems may not be withdrawn or altered once submitted into the competition.

How to Enter

  • No identifying marks should appear on the poem/s or on accompanying explanation/s.
  • On a SEPARATE sheet of paper, please include your name, address, telephone number, email address and the name/s of your poems.
  • Cheques should be made payable to ‘The Pre-Raphaelite Society’.
  • Please send TWO COPIES of your poem/s and explanation/s, along with the entrance fee, and one copy of your personal details to:
    The Competition Secretary, 21 Shaw Lane, Stoke Prior, Worcestershire B60 4DP
  • The judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence can be entered into.
  • Entry into the competition implies an understanding and acceptance of the Rules of Entry.

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AGM and Lecture: Dr Serena Trowbridge – ‘The Poetry of Elizabeth Siddal’ 29 October

Our AGM and Founder’s Day Lecture on 29 October features Dr Serena Trowbridge. Her lecture is entitled ‘The Poetry of Elizabeth Siddal’.

Venue: Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham – AGM starts at 10.30 a.m. – Lecture starts at 12.00 p.m.

Few female figures of the nineteenth century have engaged the popular imagination as much as that of Elizabeth Siddal. For most people, their first experience of Siddal is as a model. Her life seems to be of more interest than her work, however; she seems to exist in our consciousness of the Victorian period as a woman who represents the repressed, neglected and ‘fallen’ females of the time. The myths about her abound, yet these views are stereotypes and barely scratch the surface. Increasingly her drawing and painting is seriously studied, but her poetry less so. Why is it so difficult to take Siddal’s poems seriously? This lecture will examine Siddal’s poems, and suggest some ways in which it might be possible to take her writing seriously, looking at her skill as a poet and also ways in which her style was shaped by those around her. Although there are few poems extant, there is enough to give an idea of the kind of poet she was, and to draw some wider conclusions about her work in relation to Pre-Raphaelitism, Victorian medievalism and also the poems of Christina Rossetti.

Dr Serena Trowbridge is Lecturer in English Literature at Birmingham City University, and the Editor of the Review of the Pre-Raphaelite Society. Her books include Pre-Raphaelite Masculinities (with Amelia Yeates), Christina Rossetti’s Gothic, and Insanity.

Please email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org for details.

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Lecture by Dr Fiona Mann – ‘Edward Burne-Jones and Watercolour Painting 1857-1898’ September 17

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

Edward Burne-Jones’s early years as an artist were spent under the watchful eye of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1870s he had developed an independent and idiosyncratic style of watercolour painting, which would defiantly challenge the existing conventions of the medium. His continual quest for improvement and the perfect expression of his personal vision led him to experiment with many of the latest new nineteenth-century painting materials which he purchased from the respected artists’ colourman, Charles Roberson, whose sales ledgers survive today. My research, based largely on the Roberson ledgers, reveals fascinating insights into the artist’s evolving technical practice in the medium of watercolour over the course of his whole career. Works in the collection of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery provide the main focus of this lecture.

Fiona Mann completed her PhD in History of Art at Oxford Brookes University in 2012, under the supervision of Professor Christiana Payne. Her thesis was entitled “Brushing the Surface: The Practice and Critical Reception of Watercolour Techniques in England 1850-1880” and it investigated the impact of new nineteenth-century watercolour materials and equipment on the radical painting techniques of contemporary artists, including Samuel Palmer, Frederick Lewis, Myles Birket Foster, John William North and Edward Burne-Jones. Her MA studies focussed on the watercolours of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She has subsequently published an article on writers in art in the British periodical press between 1850 and 1880 in the British Art Journal; and on the watercolour painting methods of Edward Burne-Jones in the Burlington Magazine. She is currently researching the oil painting materials and techniques used by Burne-Jones, for which she has received a Paul Mellon Research Grant.

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 Tonight, spaces free!

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.

We have free spaces available for our wonderful lectures tonight!

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 on the door tonight, including free tea and coffee.  Please email nouveaudigital@gmail.com to reserve!

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