Pre-Raphaelite Quotes

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Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
I am also call’d No-more, Too-late, Farewell —Dante Gabriel Rossetti, (The House of Life: 97. A Superscription, 1-2)

‘The Wombat is a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness!’ –Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Not as she is, but as she fills his dream — Christina Rossetti, In An Artist’s Studio


When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me — Christina Rossetti, Song


The term ‘Pre-Raphaelite’ is in danger of becoming one of the most misused tags in art history — Christopher Wood, Author of The Pre-Raphaelites

A recurring image in the work of the Rossetti circle was that of a woman absorbed in self-contemplation, gazing into a mirror or combing her hair. — Elizabeth Prettejohn, Rossetti and his Circle


The life of Fanny Cornforth is forever linked to that of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Fairly or unfairly, it is his art that defines our impression of her. — Kirsty Stonell Walker, Stunner: The Fall and Rise of Fanny Cornforth


She’s like a queen, magnificently tall, with a lovely figure, a stately neck, and a face of the most delicate and finished modelling: the flow of surface from the temples over the cheek is exactly like the carving of a Phidean goddess–Walter Howell Deverell describing Elizabeth Siddal


There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott. –Tennyson, The Lady of Shalott


All changes pass me like a dream,
I neither sing nor pray;
And thou art like the poisonous tree
That stole my life away. — Elizabeth Siddal in her poem ‘Love and Hate’


And she forgot the stars, the moon, and sun,
And she forgot the blue above the trees,
And she forgot the dells where waters run,
And she forgot the chilly autumn breeze;
She had no knowledge when the day was done, — Keats: Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil


Her clothes spread wide,
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indu’d
Unto that element; but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death. — In which Queen Gertrude describes Ophelia’s death (Hamlet)


All great art is the work of the whole living creature, body and soul, and chiefly of the soul. — John Ruskin


Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth. — John Ruskin


Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. –William Morris


History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; art has remembered the people, because they created. –William Morris


If you cannot learn to love real art at least learn to hate sham art. –William Morris


The past is not dead, it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make. — William Morris


The more materialistic science becomes, the more angels shall I paint. Their wings are my protest in favor of the immortality of the soul. — Edward Burne-Jones


To have read the greatest works of any great poet, to have beheld or heard the greatest works of any great painter or musician, is a possession added to the best things of life. — Algernon Charles Swinburne


I sit in thy shadow but not alone. — Elizabeth Siddal, A Silent Wood


…women are important in the Pre-Raphaelite movement. But while their faces are seen everywhere- in oil paintings, watercolours, drawings, – their voices are never heard. — Jan Marsh, Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood (Quartet Books, 1985)


Pre-Raphaelitism was a misunderstanding they all misunderstood. It was a reform and a dream. It was real and unreal. It was modern, it was in the Middle Ages. …It was an escape from the age and a means of converting it. It was a circle in which the future and the past chased each other round. — William Gaunt, The Pre-Raphaelite Tragedy


Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams? — Alfred Lord Tennyson


I am a part of all that I have seen. — Alfred Lord Tennyson


Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love. — Shakespeare: Hamlet. ACT II Scene 2.


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… — Burne-Jones, describing his painting The Golden Stairs

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