In this month’s episode of the Fierce City podcast we have jumped into the art world to learn about the Pre-Raphaelites. We tell the story of the three founding members, their friends and supporters, and their occasionally mixed fortunes on the art scene of the mid-19th century.
For this episode we read two very different books:
- The Pre-Raphaelites by Christopher Wood, which gives a good overview of their whole lives and careers and has lots of pictures, including the big hits.
- Desperate Romantics by Franny Moyle, which is more about their personal lives and the dynamics within the group. Here is the cover, featuring Aiden Turner as Rossetti:
- There’s also general info and a lot of links available from the British Library and the V&A.
- You can read John Ruskin’s second volume of Modern Painters for free on Kindle or the Kindle app on your phone.
- John Keats’ The Eve of St Agnes is available to read online.
- As is Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti.
As promised, here are the paintings we mentioned:
Sir John Everett Millais, Christ in the House of his Parents (the Carpenter’s Shop), 1849–50, Photo © Tate, licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported).
William Holman Hunt, The Eve of St Agnes, (1847–57 [this version is a sketch for the full version of the painting we discuss, which is in the Guildhall Art Gallery in the City of London]), via Wikimedia Commons.
Sir John Everett Millais, Ophelia, 1851–2, Photo © Tate, license under CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported).
Sir John Everett Millais, The Order of Release 1746, 1852–3, Photo © Tate, license under CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported).
We didn’t describe these painting specifically but here is Elizabeth Siddal painted by Rossetti:
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Beata Beatrix, 1864–70, Photo © Tate, license under CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported).
You can see work in the Pre-Raphaelite style by Elizabeth Siddal at Lizziesiddal.com, but bear in mind these are small works and it’s best not to compare them to the large paintings above.