Pre-Raphaelite Sighting in Whitechapel


New addition to the Pre-Raphaelite Sightings page.  William Holman Hunt’s painting Isabella and the Pot of Basil spotted in Whitechapel. If you are unfamiliar with this work, see my previous post Love, Death, and Potted Plants.   Whitechapel is a British detective series.  It’s dark and atmospheric with  plots that hearken back to historic Whitechapel crimes…
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Sidonia: From Burne-Jones to Tim Burton

1999 Miranda Richardson Stars In The Movie "Sleepy Hollow." directed by Tim Burton  (Photo By Getty Images)

I posted about Sir Edward Burne-Jones’ painting Sidonia von Bork in 2009, but Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood’s readership has grown quite a bit since then, so I thought I’d revisit it for those of you who are new to this blog.  Honestly, when I read some of the older posts on this site, I can’t help but…
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The Unique Beauty of Rossetti


I often see criticism of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s work that describes his paintings of women as masculine. Some people see Rossetti’s frequent depictions of elongated necks and broad shoulders and are instantly dismissive. This is not a conventional beauty, they think, this is not a goddess. The fact that Rossetti’s paintings of women fall outside…
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Then be not coy, but use your time


For the title of his 1909 painting Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May, John William Waterhouse used a line from the poem To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick (1597-1674) Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be…
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Blanche Fury


Over the years, the term Pre-Raphaelite somehow took on a life of its own and no longer refers to just art of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but a bohemian style of dress or a certain physical type. Usually, when I see a modern woman described as Pre-Raphaelite it refers to her wild and flowing hair. Is it…
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Seance on a Wet Afternoon

William Morris willow patterned wallpaper is seen in the background of the opening scene of Seance on a Wet Afternoon

I have added a few new screenshots to the Pre-Raphaelite Sightings page from the 1964 movie Seance on a Wet Afternoon. Seen above is the opening scene which features William Morris ‘Willow Bough’ patterned wallpaper in the background. This wallpaper was designed by Morris in 1887. Seance on a Wet Afternoon is a rather dark…
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Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s sonnet Life-in-Love fascinates me, especially when read with knowledge of two great loves in his life: Elizabeth Siddal and Jane Morris.   The first two lines suggest that his deceased lover’s life has somehow migrated into the body of his new love: Not in thy body is thy life at all/But in…
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The Testament of Sophie Dawes


When the Prince Consort died, Queen Victoria mourned for the rest of her life.   She would not allow the room where he passed to ever be changed; she wore black attire (her widow’s weeds) for the next forty years.  Many busts, statues, and memorials to Prince Albert were commissioned.  His belongings and papers were treated…
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Lyres of Waterhouse

'Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus' (John William Waterhouse)

In 1900 John William Waterhouse painted Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus, which shows the discovery of Orpheus’ decapitated head floating next to his lyre. Orpheus was given the lyre by the god Apollo and it was the Muses that taught him how to play.  His gift for music enchanted all living things: wild beasts, trees…
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What shapes our perception of Elizabeth Siddal?

Photograph of Elizabeth Siddal

 For those of us who admire Pre-Raphaelite art, Elizabeth Siddal is a familiar face.  Her story is repeated often and frequently embellished.  When beginning to research the life of Elizabeth Siddal, readers will invariably encounter this description of her written by poet William Allingham in his diary: “Short, sad, and strange her life; it must…
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Rossetti’s Models

The Bower Meadow, 1871-72, Oil on Canvas

Like his Pre-Raphaelite brethren, Dante Gabriel Rossetti used live models in his works.  Throughout the course of his career, the same faces grace his canvasses, ranging from family members to lovers.  Occasionally, models Elizabeth Siddal and Alexa Wilding are confused for each other. Other models may be misidentified completely. so this post is intended to…
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Perdita, the lost girl


Perdita (seen above) was painted by Frederick Sandys with  Mary Emma Jones as the model.  Also known by her stage name Miss Clive, Mary Emma Jones appears in several of Sandys’ works.  They never married, but the couple did have ten children together.  Sandys was a bit of a rogue when it came to his…
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A Mother’s Exile


Georgiana Burne-Jones, wife of artist Edward Burne-Jones, was a devoted wife and mother.  Her love for her husband and children is obvious when reading any account of the Burne-Jones family.   Despite her joy at becoming a mother, Georgie poignantly described a sense of exile once she was no longer in the studio with her…
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The Eve of St. Agnes


Sir William Richmond, R.A. had this to say about Millais’ painting The Eve of St. Agnes and the innovative nature of Millais’ work:  “Millais’ literary sympathies were with Scott, Thackeray, and Dickens, and lastly, Louis Stevenson.  He loved anecdote and story as well as the literary embodiment of character; but I question if philosophical problem had much…
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New Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood T Shirts


I have just restocked  Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood T-Shirts.  Short sleeve, slightly fitted women’s cut.  Now available in black, blue, and green.  If you are interested in long sleeve, I will have some available in February.  Go to the T Shirt page to place your order!  Shirts are $20 plus shipping.  Payments are processed through PayPal. Pre-Raphaelite…
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Burne-Jones’ “Bogey Drawings”


“I do not know exactly where to place a class of drawings for which Edward was famous in our closest circle. We called them “Bogey drawings”, and they dealt fearlessly with the fearful subject. We shuddered and laughed as we saw the old fears of our childhood embodied in the march of a Bogey up…
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Sighting: Pre-Raphaelite art in Law and Order: SVU


New addition to the Unexpected Pre-Raphaelite Sightings page. Season 17, episode 1 of Law and Order: SVU included Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Belcolore and Lady Lilith.  It’s not a spoiler to tell you that the art in the killer’s home reflects his obsession with red hair.  

The Captives

The Captives

Imprisonment and isolation appear frequently in Pre-Raphaelite art, with the repeated images of the Lady of Shalott, Mariana, and in Evelyn De Morgan’s painting The Gilded Cage.  In De Morgan’s painting The Captives (above) confinement is shown in a far more threatening manner through a fantasy world made up of menacing dragons. Are the dragons…
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Images of the Annunciation


Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s portrayal of the Annunciation is a continuation of the theme begun in his painting The Girlhood of Mary Virgin.  The moment that Mary learns she is to give birth to the Christ child has been depicted in art frequently since the Middle Ages. Rossetti’s Ecce Ancilla Domini is shockingly intimate in comparison.  We see…
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Art of the Story


In a post a few years ago, I said that my love of Pre-Raphaelite art probably stems from my lifelong love of stories.  Much of the Pre-Raphaelites’ work presents a narrative often inspired by literature and myth.  I have noticed recently that a number of Victorian artworks are not just the telling of a story,…
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Oracles and Sibyls

'Sibylla Palmifera', Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Model: Alexa Wilding

sib·yl: noun a woman in ancient times supposed to utter the oracles and prophecies of a god. literary a woman able to foretell the future. Sibyls appear often in art and fiction and I find them indicative of female power and mystery. They represent arcane knowledge of the future, usually sought by someone on an…
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Inspired by artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s passion for wombats, every Friday is Wombat Friday at Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood. “The Wombat is a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness!” ~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti Goodreads giveaway: Don’t miss your chance to snag a copy of  Beauty Secrets of the Martyrs by Verity Holloway. Don’t miss #Muffvent at…
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