#PRSBook meeting: Possession by A. S. Byatt, Sunday Jan 15!

The Pre-Raphaelite Society is excited to announce that our London book club is now moving to Twitter. Stephanie Graham Piña, who runs the popular website ‘The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood’, is teaming up with us to run the book club quarterly on Twitter. Members from around the world will be able to follow #PRSBook on Twitter to join in a conversation about the nominated book.

Our first event will run online Sunday, 15 January, from 9 am to 9pm BST and Central US time, meaning you can join in no matter where you are. We are reading Possession by A. S. Byatt (available on Amazon UK and US).

Questions and discussion will be run by Stephanie (@beguilingmerlin) and Madeleine Pearce (@nouveaudigital), the London and Southern Group coordinator. So follow @PreRaphSoc, use the hashtag #PRSBook on Twitter to join the conversation, and get ready for an inspiring day.

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#PRBday is Sunday 20 November!

We are pleased to announce our popular #PRBday is taking place this year on Sunday 20 November, 9am to 5pm GMT. This is our chance to commemorate the formation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood online and help spread their legacy. We will be asking you to vote for your favourite Pre-Raphaelite drawings, painting, and sculptures. We are also asking for your favourite Pre-Raphaelite poems!

Share images and links to works that inspire you and talk with other modern Pre-Raphaelites about those rare gems you’ve found. You’ll also have a chance to chat via Twitter with Serena Trowbridge (@serena_t), the current editor of The Review, and Madeleine Pearce (@nouveaudigital), the London and Southern Group coordinator. So follow @PreRaphSoc, use the hashtag #PRBday on Twitter to join the conversation, and get ready for an inspiring day.

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Latest issue of ‘The Review’ out now- Vol. XXIV, No. 2, Summer 2016

The latest edition of ‘The Review’, Vol. XXIV, No. 2, Summer 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. “An Interview with The Goblin Market” by Lisa Dallape Matson.
  2. “The Pre-Raphaelite Madonna” by Mary Faraci.
  3. “Notes on the Lady – Correspondence between Paul Barlow & Theresia van der Meij” by Theresia van der Meij.
  4. “BMAG Residency” by Sevven Kucuk.
  5. “A beautiful corpse, as it were sleeping:” John William Waterhouses’s Awakening of Adonis and Bion’s ‘Lament for Adonis’” by Jennifer Bates Ehlert.
  6. “’The Golden Stairs’ and ‘William De Morgan’s Blackbird Vase’” – poems by Sarah Doyle.
  7. “Book Review Pre-Raphaelites, Beauty and Rebellion by Christopher Newall” by Mark Jones.
  8. “Exhibition and Catalogue Review Julia Margaret Cameron: Photographs to electrify you with delight and startle the world, edited by Marta Weissby Madeleine Pearce.
  9. “Book Review Ophelia’s Muse by Rita Cameron” by Kirsty Stonell Walker.
  10. “Book Review Poetry in Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of Marie Spartali Stillman by Margaretta S. Frederick and Jan Marsh” by Nic Peeters.
  11. “Book Review Beauty’s Awakening: Drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Their Contemporaries from the Lanigan Collection” by Simon Spier.
  12. “Book Review Visual Under The Cedar: The Lushington’s of Pyports by David Taylorby Margaret English.
  13. “Book Review Wenlock Abbey 1857-1919: A Shropshire Country House and the Milnes Gaskell family by Cynthia Gambleby Stephen G. Maddison.
  14. Meeting Reports.
  15. “’In Wooded Dell’” – a poem by Thomas Knowles
  16. Notes and Queries.

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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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