Summer Reading

Sometimes my reading life is haphazard and I dip into whatever strikes me fancy. (The right book, more often than not, seems to find me instead of the other way around.) Other times, I get a great deal of joy in creating an active reading plan to pursue. On Monday I posted William Michael Rossetti’s…
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Kirsty Stonell Walker on Fanny Cornforth

Today marks the  anniversary of the death of Pre-Raphaelite model Fanny Cornforth.  She held an important place in the life of artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, yet she has long been derided and  dismissed because of her dubious background.  Her final years were a mystery until biographer Kirsty Stonell Walker shed light on them. To honor…
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We Are Villains All

Synopsis: 1890, Daneburton, Hampshire: Maud Blake, spinster companion to flighty, young Emeline Hutchinson, is the least important woman at the weekly poetry circle. She sits at the back, barely able to see the poet who presides over them all, but she requires only his words to fuel her dreams. For twenty years Max has lived peacefully…
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In which the wombat admires Mnemosyne

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 This week our hero the wombat admires Marie Spartali Stillman.  From November 7, 2015 – January 31, 2016 the Delaware Art Museum will be…
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The bias against Fanny Cornforth

Sir Edward Burne-Jones used Fanny Cornforth as a model for his unfinished painting, Hope,  above.  Although incomplete, it remains one of my favorite paintings of Fanny.  As Jan Marsh points out in Pre-Raphaelite Women: Images of Femininity in Pre-Raphaelite Art, in Hope it is possible to ‘appreciate the ‘fine regular features’ that attracted so many admirers before her…
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To strive, to seek, to find

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 The birthday of Alfred,Lord Tennyson was this week, which brings to mind one of my favorite passages from his poem Ulysses: Tho’ much…
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Fanny Cornforth in the News

It is thrilling to see Fanny Cornforth in the news this week.  You may remember that recently, #WombatFriday was devoted to the mystery of Fanny Cornforth in honor of Kirsty Stonell Walker’s blog post that shed light on Fanny’s final years. For those of us that follow Pre-Raphaelite news closely, this was this first published…
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The Mystery of Fanny Cornforth

Once again, it’s #WombatFriday!  This week, I am sharing a story with you because for Pre-Raphaelite enthusiasts, this is a profound discovery. Fanny Cornforth was a frequent model for for Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  Historically, biographers have written more about his models Elizabeth Siddal and Jane Morris, leaving Fanny to the sidelines. Her past as a prostitute…
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The Palace of Art

Huzzah! Once again it is #WombatFriday. Kirsty Stonell Walker has just written a fabulous post: The Illustrated Tennyson: A Brief History.  So, in honor of Kirsty, today’s Wombat Friday has a Tennyson theme. Pictured above, our hero the wombat can be seen with my own illustrated copy of Tennyson and one of my favorite images:…
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Book Review: A Curl of Copper and Pearl

“To start with I was nothing, but then the merest sweep of his pencil gave a hint of what I could become.”  –A Curl of Copper and Pearl I’ve spent almost my entire adult life pursuing the Pre-Raphaelites, but never have I felt so immersed in their world as I did while reading this book….
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Who is The Blessed Damozel?

The Poem:  Drawing inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel explores the theme of lovers separated by death.  Like Poe’s Lenore, the damozel (an archaic form of damsel) has died and Rossetti introduces her to us as she looks down upon her lover from heaven.  Rossetti later told Hall…
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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…
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Wombat Friday: An Easter Celebration

Happy Easter!  Pictured in the background is Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s ‘The Girlhood of Mary Virgin‘, Rossetti’s first oil painting and the first work to bear the inscription ‘PRB’.  His models for this work were his mother, Frances Polidori Rossetti, and sister Christina. For new readers, here’s an explanation of Wombat Friday and don’t miss this post at…
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Fanny Cornforth as Fair Rosamund

With the release of Stunner, Fanny Cornforth is happily on my mind.  I thought I’d share one of my favorite paintings of Fanny:  Fair Rosamund by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  This is not the first time I have shared this image here, you can also see Rossetti’s study for Fair Rosamund in this post from June…
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Win a signed copy of Stunner

As mentioned previously, a new and improved edition of Stunner has been released into the wild. Stunner, the biography of model Fanny Cornforth, belongs on the shelf of all Pre-Raphaelite enthusiasts. Kirsty Stonell Walker has launched a contest to give away a signed copy of the book. She (and her daughter and chicken) has posed…
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Stunner!

I am excited to share that you may now purchase Kirsty Stonell Walker’s biography of Pre-Raphaelite model Fanny Cornforth.  This is by far one of the best Pre-Raphaelite biographies I have ever read and it needs a home on your shelf. This is technically the second edition of Stunner, but even if you already own…
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A few notes

There are several things I’d like to share with you today: I’ve been reading some of Rossetti’s notes in The Collected Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and I like this insight on his opinion of color: Thinking in what order I love colours, found the following:– 1. Pure light warm green. 2. Deep gold-colour. 3….
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