Wombats love Jane Morris

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 Happy #WombatFriday!  Our art-loving wombat admires a photograph of Jane Morris. You know wombats are drawn to Jane Morris’ unconventional beauty.  Last weekend,…
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101 years ago today, Jane Morris died

Today marks the anniversary of Jane Morris’ death 101 years ago. Wife of William Morris, she was immortalized on canvas repeatedly by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Here’s the post I wrote last year: 100 years after her death, Jane Morris continues to inspire. Also written last year, The Hour Glass: On Jane Morris and Aging. A…
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The Hour Glass: On Jane Morris and Aging

Jane Morris was swept into the Pre-Raphaelite world at age eighteen.  She was La Belle Iseult to William Morris, who declared “I cannot paint you; but I love you”.  Then she was Pandora, Mnemosyne, Astarte Syriaca and other assorted goddesses to Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  And years later, after the Pre-Raphaelite bloom had faded from her…
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100 Years After Her Death, Jane Morris Continues to Inspire

Jane Burden and her sister Bessie were attending a theatre performance when they were spotted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones.  When Gabriel asked Jane to model for them, her initial answer was yes–although later she failed to appear.  Burne-Jones was apparently able to convince Jane and her family that their intentions were respectable…
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The Handwriting of Jane Morris

You may remember Dutch artist Margje Bijl from my previous blog posts about her project “Reflections on Jane Morris”. If you’re not familiar with her yet, let me introduce you to her. I believe she has an uncanny resemblance with Jane Morris, the Pre-Raphaelite muse who lived from 1839 till 1914. As I described in…
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Reflections on Jane Morris

Imagine discovering a double from another century. In 2004, it happened to Dutch artist Margje Bijl. She was given a photograph of Jane Morris by an acquaintance and at first glance thought she was looking at herself. Intrigued by Jane and inspired by their similarity, she has created the project ‘Reflections on Jane Morris’, in…
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Jane Morris as Beatrice

Although Rossetti painted Jane Morris repeatedly, it is a bit unusual to see her painted as Beatrice.  Beatrice, Dante Alighieri’s  unrequited love,  is a character Rossetti strongly associated with Elizabeth Siddal.   There is another painting of Jane Morris as Beatrice at The Rossetti Archive titled  The Salutation of Beatrice, also known as The Lady in…
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Visitor Email: Photo of Jane Morris

“I have cropped this picture from the 1874 photo of the Burne-Jones and Morris families. It was not a particularly bright sunny day when the picture was taken (better for reducing harsh contrast and bringing out a wider tonal range) and given the photographic equipment of the time, Jane was probably trying to stay still…
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Jane Morris: An Enigmatic Muse

In 1857, Rossetti and a small group of artists that included William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones were working in Oxford, painting the Union Murals.  One night, they attended a performance put on by actors from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.  Seated in the gallery below were Jane Burden and her sister.  Rossetti, struck by Jane’s…
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#WombatFriday: Miniature Rossetti, Jane, and Pandora

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 This delightful Rossetti and Jane Morris figurine is available from a company called Department 56. I purchased mine on Amazon: Pandora (For a…
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William Morris and Le Morte d’Arthur

Since finishing Le Morte d’Arthur, I’ve been refreshing my memory and reading all the references I can find regarding Pre-Raphaelite art and Arthurian influences. My first choice was a William Morris biography that I happily stumbled across at a flea market a few years ago. There’s one paragraph in particular that always stands out to…
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The Faces of Elizabeth Siddal

Elizabeth Siddal made great contributions to the Pre-Raphaelite movement; she appears in a number of important works.  After posing for Deverell, Holman Hunt, Millais, and Rossetti she bravely moved to the other side of the easel and became a Pre-Raphaelite artist in her own right.   She has fascinated me throughout my adulthood and today I’d…
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Happy Birthday, Dante Gabriel Rossetti!

Today marks the anniversary of Rossetti’s birth in 1828.  A founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Rossetti’s works capture his unique view of beauty.  His paintings of women during the latter stage of his life are often criticized for their unusual physical attributions: elongated necks, cupid bow lips, and  languid gazes.  And, of course, all…
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“A study of varied greens”

“The girl is in a sort of passionate reverie, and is drawing her hand listlessly along the strings of a violin which hangs against the wall, while she holds the bow with the other hands, as if arrested by the thought of the moment, when she was about to play.  In color, I shall make…
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In a World of Her Own

I’ve seen  Pre-Raphaelite paintings  of women  dismissed as ‘languid’ or ‘vapid’ and many critics view them as sensual images created solely for the male gaze. That’s a fair argument, of course, but I feel it’s a point of view that barely scratches the surface. To me, Pre-Raphaelite women are not shallow objects of beauty, but…
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Music is Hope

Have you ever noticed that Pandora is a lot like Eve?  Eve is to blame for being cast out of Eden, Pandora is to blame for unleashing evil into the world. Both stories can be ways to judge women harshly for their curiosity and instinctive need to pursue knowledge. Yet if Pandora is to be…
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A Primordial Venus

I’ve written about Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s painting Astarte Syriaca (1877) more than once on this blog, saying in Those Rossetti Lips:  She could totally crush you.  It’s a powerful painting, one of my favorites. I realize that it may not be to everyone’s taste. Especially if you are not already a Rossetti fan, it could come…
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Painting the Soul

At the age of twenty-one, Dante Gabriel Rossetti wrote the short story Hand and Soul, which was published in The Germ, a short-lived magazine created by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.    Not only does the story  offer a glimpse into the young Rossetti’s beliefs and aspirations  but it seems to be the only work of fiction…
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Botanical Paintings: My Top Picks

An  important hallmark of Pre-Raphaelite art is truth to nature.  Of course, there are many reasons why the art of the Pre-Raphaelites is so visually striking.  Their subject matter often illustrates a compelling narrative,  the vibrant hues they used results in a visually arresting effect that commands attention, and who can resist the beauty of…
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Embracing Dante Alighieri

“In the middle of the journey of our life, I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight path was lost”  So begins Dante’s journey through Inferno (hell), Purgatorio (purgatory), and Paradiso (paradise).  His travels through these  three areas of the afterlife make up La Divina Commedia, the Divine Comedy.  I came to the…
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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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Life-in-Love

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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