William Morris and Fantasy

William Morris’ fantasy books resonate with my bibliophile heart. Epic voyages told through folkloric narratives, his fantasies contributed to the birth of the Fantasy genre as we know it. As if that weren’t enough, he presented these works to the world in breathtaking volumes that are the epitome of typography and ornament.   It is his … Read more

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 … Read more

William Morris at Merton

I must express my gratitude to Dave Saxby for sending me a copy of his book William Morris at Merton.  Written in 1995, William Morris at Merton won the best library book in Britain and an award from the John Bull prize for literature.  Copies can be purchased at the Museum of London.  I’m always … Read more

Jane Burden Morris

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 for the local debating society.  One night they attended a performance by actors from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Seated in the gallery below were Jane Burden and her sister.  Rossetti … Read more

The Diaries of William Allingham

If you’re interested in studying the Victorian era seriously, then diaries and letters are important.  At times I feel like a 21st-century snoop, devouring personal journals and private correspondence whenever I get the chance.  Through contemporary accounts, the past may not always come alive but it shines through the mist more clearly.  The diaries of … Read more

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, … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

Women of the Pre-Raphaelite Circle

Christina Rossetti Sister of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and critic William Michael Rossetti. A talented poet in her own right, Christina can be seen in several early works of her brother’s, namely The Girlhood of the Virgin Mary and Ecce Ancilla Domini. Read more. Elizabeth Siddal Lizzie helped shape the concept of a “Pre-Raphaelite … Read more

Georgiana Burne-Jones

Georgiana Burne-Jones was introduced to the Pre-Raphaelite circle through her relationship with the man she would later marry, her childhood sweetheart, Edward Burne-Jones. The daughter of a Methodist minister, Georgie was the fifth out of eleven children. Their upbringing was strict and, according to Jan Marsh in Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, reading the works of Shakespeare and … Read more

Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy

The Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy exhibition is currently running at the the U.K.’s Southampton City Art Gallery until Feb. 1, 2020, after which it will move to the Russell-Cotes gallery from February 21 until June 21, 2020. The exhibit’s accompanying softcover catalog is the latest addition to my bulging Pre-Raphaelite bookshelves, and it … Read more

Becoming Radiant

Elbert Hubbard had the right idea. Hubbard (1856-1915) was an American writer and publisher who drew inspiration from William Morris, Pre-Raphaelite associate and key figure of the Arts and Crafts movement. There’s a lot to explore in Hubbard’s works that I hope will inspire future posts. But for now, let’s focus on a passage of … Read more

What’s up with the wombats?

“Rossetti was the planet around which we revolved, we copied his way of speaking. All beautiful women were “stunners” with us. Wombats were the most beautiful of God’s creatures.”–artist Valentine Cameron Prinsep Wombat Friday began in 2013 when, in a moment of frivolity, I posted several pictures of wombats with cake and books in a … Read more

Evelyn De Morgan Centenary Symposium

Celebrate Evelyn De Morgan’s centenary. Purchase tickets at Eventbrite. Learn more at the De Morgan Foundation. Evelyn De Morgan was a radical Victorian artist who defied her gender and upper-class upbringing to become a commercially successful, professional artist. Her style develops from Neo-Classical, Italian Renaissance influenced work, which she was taught at the Slade School … Read more

The Artist’s Soul

‘See me, and know me as I am.’   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, it seems to … Read more

Wombat Friday! Now with extra lemon!

T-Dub, resident wombat at Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, is craving lemons. The source of his delight can be traced to the symbolic details found in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s painting La Bella Mano.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted La Bella Mano in 1875. When planning it, he described it as “a good-sized Titianesque subject — a girl washing her … Read more

On Aging

Jane Morris in The Hour Glass by Evelyn De Morgan

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.  Years later, after the Pre-Raphaelite bloom had faded from her cheeks, we see Jane on canvas again in Evelyn … Read more