What Grows from Grief

I have written about William Holman Hunt’s painting Isabella and the Pot of Basil many times before.  I included it in a recent Wombat Friday and you can read the story behind it in the post Love, Death, and Potted Plants.  It’s a painting that is hard to walk away from when you see it…
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Halloween, Pre-Raphaelites, and Keats

I think Sir John Everett Millais’ painting Speak! Speak! is a perfect Pre-Raphaelite image to share on Halloween.   The ghost of a bride appears to her love.  He reaches out to her, urging her to speak. It’s a haunting image and the concept had been on the artist’s mind for forty years before he…
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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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Pan, Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Above is a detail from Arthur Rackham’s illustration of Pan from The Wind in the Willows. I first became enchanted by Pan when, as a little girl, I read The Wind in the Willows. I was in love with that book from the moment Mole became fed up with his spring-cleaning, left his hole, and met…
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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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Lamia Revisited

Left to herself, the serpent now began To change; her elfin blood in madness ran, Her mouth foam’d, and the grass, therewith besprent, Wither’d at dew so sweet and virulent;  — Excerpt from Lamia, John Keats   I’ve shared John William Waterhouse’s first depiction of Lamia (1905) on this site at least twice, but I’ve…
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Waterhouse and Transformations

After my post about Clytie changing into the sunflower, I’ve been pondering transformations. Lamia is perhaps my favorite example of a dramatic transformation.  Based on the poem by John Keats, Waterhouse depicts Lamia after she has transformed from serpent to woman.  I adore the vivid imagery of Keats’ poem (She was a gordian shape of…
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Love, Death and Potted Plants

William Holman Hunt’s Isabella and the Pot of Basil is currently in the news with the recent announcement that the Delaware Art museum will be auctioning the painting tomorrow.  The work has been in their collection since 1947 and it is sad news indeed that the Delaware has to sell it and three other works…
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Alone and palely loitering: La Belle Dame sans Merci

La Belle Dame sans Merci translated from the French means “the beautiful lady without pity” or “the beautiful lady without mercy”.  It is possible that the poem is based on the ballad of ‘True Thomas’, also known as ‘Thomas the Rhymer’, which tells how a man was enchanted by the queen of Elfland and lured…
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Lamia Broadcast

In my previous post I mentioned the adaptation of Keats’ Lamia on BBC Radio 4. The broadcast can be purchased and downloaded from AudioGo.  Thank you Cathy Baker for sharing the link with me!  I downloaded and listened to it and it is a beautiful reading and a perfect way to start my morning.

Lamia

I just discovered that in January there was an adaptation of Keats’ Lamia on BBC Radio 4.  I’m sorry that I missed that.  Lamia is one of my favorite works, here are two passages I enjoy the most. (You can read the complete poem here) Lamia has vivid imagery: “She was a gordian shape of…
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Lorenzo and Isabella

This is the first work Millais painted as a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  Lorenzo and Isabella is based on Keats’ poem Isabella, or, the Pot of Basil.  I’ve touched on the poem briefly in this post about William Holman Hunt’s painting of the same subject.   Basically, Isabella and Lorenzo fall in love. Her brothers…
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Keats and the Pre-Raphaelites

I recently saw an interview with Jane Campion on Charlie Rose and was interested as she discussed her latest film, Bright Star.    Based on the three-year romance between  John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats’ untimely death at age 25. Keats was an inspiration to the Pre-Raphaelites.   His poem The Eve…
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Isabella and the Pot of Basil

I had seen this painting several times in books and online, but when I saw it in person I was blown away. The painting is quite large, measuring 73.5 x 45.5 inches. Due to its size, the painting draws you in, completely dominating the room and immersing you in every detail. The painting illustrates a…
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