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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Sleep, Pale Sister

Before writing her famous bestseller Chocolat, Joanne Harris penned Sleep, Pale Sister, a provocative 19th-century story of madness, lies, and laudanum. Written in 1994, it was reprinted ten years later and introduced to a broader audience.  The recent reprint contains bonus materials in the back for further discussion including an author interview and background information…
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The Happy Marriage of Effie Millais

The marriage of Sir John Everett Millais is often talked about due to its scintillating details. The marriage itself was not scandalous, Millais and his wife Effie seem to have had a happy life together. But the fact that prior to her marriage, Effie was married to critic John Ruskin is a source of infinite…
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Effie Millais describes ‘Apple Blossoms’

Apple Blossoms captures a relaxing outing on a spring day.  Liverpool Museums points out that there are many different ways to interpret this painting, especially with the odd appearance of a scythe on the right hand side of the picture. On the face of it, this is a picture about youth and beauty, but it has…
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Pre-Raphaelite Marriage: Ruskin, Effie and Millais

John Ruskin was an an author, art critic, and social reformer who was an early champion of Pre-Raphaelite ideals.  Interestingly, he was also the patron who supported the work of Elizabeth Siddal. His marriage to  Euphemia Chalmers Gray, known as Effie, is universally described as a disaster.  The story goes that Ruskin rejected Effie on their…
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