Portrait of Margaret Burne-Jones

Sir Edward Burne-Jones’ portrait of his daughter Margaret is another example of  mirror paintings that I adore. It’s not the mirror itself that I love; I am captivated by paintings whose mirrors that allow us a view of an opposite side of the room. Previous ‘mirror’ posts include Seeking out mirrors, Circe offering the cup…
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‘The Magic Circle’ and ‘The Crystal Ball’

In The Magic Circle, a lone sorceress casts her spell while surrounded by ravens in a desolate landscape. No lush greenery here, Waterhouse has placed her in a barren spot that lends an atmosphere of something wild and primitive. Practicing her magic, the sorceress is firmly in control. You may not be able to see…
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Port After Stormy Seas

Port After Stormy Seas (1905) by Evelyn De Morgan Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas, Ease after War, death after life  does greatly please. –Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queen I first encountered these lines as a teenager, while reading Agatha Christie’s Dead Man’s Folly. Quoted by the character Mrs. Folliat, the words speak of the respite needed after…
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Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus

There are many artistic representations of Circe.  Previous posts on this blog include Circe Invidiosa and The Wine of Circe.  Kirsty Stonell Walker explores Circe more deeply in her post Snowdrops, Swine and Seductive Sorceresses. I’ve been looking at mirrors in Pre-Raphaelite art in my previous posts.  In Il Dolce Far Niente and Viola, the…
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The Golden Stairs

“I mean by a picture a beautiful, romantic dream of something that never was, never will be – in a light better than any light that ever shone – in a land no one can define or remember, only desire – and the forms divinely beautiful – and then I wake up, with the waking…
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Preparing for the Ball

I have a weakness for paintings with mirrors in them.  Preparing for the Ball by Emma Sandys is a perfect example.  According to Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists by Jan Marsh and Pamela Gerrish Nunn, this painting has been known by more than one title:  Preparing for the Ball, Before the Mirror and The Lady of Shalott. …
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Summer Beauty

I seem to be bombarded by advertisements that insist there is still time to get my body “bikini ready”.  If I can’t sculpt, shape or melt away areas of my body, I can visit one of the many tanning salons that seem to be popping up on every corner.  Or I could take a safer…
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The Beloved

Yesterday, when I shared that a detail from The Beloved can be seen on an ad for the Apple iPad mini, I realized that I’ve never posted about the painting on this site before.  Which is a shame since it is not only a striking work, but unusual.  Unusual in that it incorporates ethnic diversity…
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Joanna Boyce: Elgiva

Reading about the lives of women artists in any time period can be frustrating.  Their biographies are almost always peppered with obstacles that their male counterparts don’t seem to face. So, it is rare and wonderful to read that Joanna Boyce’s first exhibited painting was not only well received, but was praised by critic John…
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Hanging the Mistletoe

I’ve seen this painting titled as “The Farmer’s Daughter”, “Hanging the Mistletoe”, and “Girl Tying Up Mistletoe”.   Painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Rossetti Archive states that the finished painting has the date “Xmas 1860” on the frame. Mistletoe:  its history, meaning and traditions

Burne-Jones: The Blessed Damozel

The Blessed Damozel, painted by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, is based on a poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti of the same name.   Rossetti was nineteen when he wrote The Blessed Damozel, which tells the tale of two lovers who will one day be reunited in heaven. “The blessed damozel leaned out From the gold bar of…
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Sidonia von Bork by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

The intricate pattern of Sidonia’s gown is amazing. Painted in 1860, Sidonia von Bork is an early watercolor by Burne-Jones and is based on the book Sidonia the Sorceress.  Burne-Jones used model Fanny Cornforth (a Rossetti favorite) to portray Sidonia.  We see her standing in profile, apparently lost in thought while plotting and scheming.  In…
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Lucrezia Borgia

I believe the model to be Fanny Cornforth. According to the Tate, Rossetti repainted her face several years after completing the painting. The tale of the Borgias captivated Rossetti. Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519) was the member of a ruthless political family. Her father Rodrigo Borgia eventually became Pope Alexander VI. We see her in Rossetti’s painting…
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Valentine Rescuing Sylvia from Proteus

Based on Shakespeare’s Two Gentleman of Verona, this was one of William Holman Hunt’s most successful paintings. Lizzie Siddal, one of my favorite Pre-Raphaelite models, modeled for Sylvia. We can not see her features in this image, though.  Hunt repainted them after criticism from John Ruskin. Hunt painted this piece outdoors in the Surrey countryside…
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The Woodsman’s Daughter

Painted by Sir John Everett Millais, The Woodsman’s Daughter is based on a poem by Coventry Patmore. The following lines from Patmore’s poem were displayed with the painting when first exhibited at the Royal Academy: She went merely to think she help’d; And, whilst he hack’d and saw’d, The rich Squire’s son, a young boy…
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Fair Rosamund and Queen Eleanor

  Fair Rosamund, mistress of King Henry II, is depicted in light colors that represent innocence and virginity. In contrast, Queen Eleanor wears an angry black. Despite being the wronged wife, it is the fair Rosamund that we pity. The fear is visible on her lovely, crying face. Rosamund is trying to flee, but it…
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Love’s Shadow

Although Frederick Sandys was not a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he is among those artists often described as Pre-Raphaelite because of their similarity in style. Sandys lived with Dante Gabriel Rossetti for a time in Rossetti’s home in Cheyne Walk. In another post (Helen of Troy) I mentioned that Rossetti accused Sandys of plagiarism. The model for Love’s…
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The Blue Bower

  This painting is yet another of Rossetti’s works that depicts a woman playing music. It is also Rossetti’s last major portrait of Fanny Cornforth. I love the blue and white tile background, which is also reminiscent of the blue and white china that Rossetti and others in his circle collected. I highly recommend The Rossetti…
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Beata Beatrix

Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted Beata Beatrix as a tribute after the death of his wife Elizabeth Siddal. DGR had always idolized Dante, the author of Vita Nuova. In Vita Nuova, Beatrice is Dante’s unrequited love. In Beata Beatrix, Rossetti painted Elizabeth Siddal as Beatrice, merging his love and Dante’s into one. Rossetti painted several versions…
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Ophelia and the Pre-Raphaelites

Ophelia is a captivating character, one that inspired many of the Pre-Raphaelites and other Victorian artists. For those unfamiliar with Ophelia, she is Hamlet’s innocent  young love interest in one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays (Hamlet). Hamlet loved Ophelia – but after his meeting with the ghost of his father (Act I) he feels compelled…
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The Tale of Pygmalion

The tale of Pygmalion dates back to Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The paintings featured here are the second series painted by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. Pygmalion is a sculptor who is disgusted by the behavior of local women, who are frivolous, shallow, and immoral. His decision to live a life of celibacy instead of choosing one of…
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