I would like to compile a list of Pre-Raphaelite sightings from movies, television shows, etc. So, if you have a siting to share, post a comment!
I love Inspector Morse mysteries. If you are not familiar with them, it was a wonderful a television program that originated in the UK and are based on the novels by Colin Dexter. Set in Oxford, it is a visually stunning series to watch. I first saw them here in the US on PBS Mystery! and later on the A&E network. My father, a fellow mystery lover, first introduced me to the curmudgeonly Morse (who drinks too much and has a passion for both opera and crosswords). It had been years since I’d seen a Morse episode, so I bought several DVD’s online. Imagine my surprise when in the first few minutes of the first episode I saw Rossetti’s Proserpine!
The painting on the easel is not Pre-Raphaelite, it was created for the film. But it is identical to Monna Vanna, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. If you watch closely, you can see this painting several times in the movie.
Now, this siting surprised me the most given that I have seen this movie hundreds of times and I never noticed that Solitude by Frederic, Lord Leighton hangs in the hallway in My Fair Lady! I’ll share Leighton’s image first:
More William Morris wallpaper?
Added Sept. 2, 2008:
On the same evening, I find that Grace of The Beautiful Necessity has posted some wonderful sightings from a BBC miniseries Daniel Deronda:
Update October 12, 2008: Last night I was watching Inspector Lewis Series II on Masterpiece Mystery. Lewis is a sequel to my beloved Inspector Morse mysteries. I was ecstatic to see this Pre-Raphaelite poster advertising an exhibit at the Tate. The painting is Monna Vanna by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
This episode of Inspector Lewis is titled The Quality of Mercy and you can watch it online here!
William Morris Wallpaper in The Spiderwick Chronicles (please click for Grace’s full post)
Pre-Raphaelite Works in The Importance of Being Earnest (Reese Witherspoon)-please click for Grace’s full post
Dorian Gray and the PRB (click to read full post, she has several screen caps of this delicious movie)
Added November 10, 2010:
This production of The Woman in White was actually in transit to me (from Netflix) when someone mentioned it in the comments of this post! I was excited to watch it. If you’ve read the book, you should know that there are a number of changes. Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s painting Beata Beatrix is not only mentioned, but discussed. So is the exhumation of his wife Elizabeth Siddal.
Added January 11, 2011: My husband and I were watching an episode of Wire in the Blood on Netflix and I was surprised that Ophelia made an appearance. The episode “Sharp Compassion” is from season 2 of Wire in the Blood. It is a dark drama with adult subject matter and is based on the series of books by Val McDermid –I’ve read three of them and my husband and I enjoy the television adaptation. But beware, it can be a bit grisly. Wire in the Blood is a psychological crime drama whose main character, Dr. Tony Hill, immerses himself in a case to create a profile of the killer. In this episode, the painting of Ophelia sparks an idea about the positioning of the victims bodies — all of the victims are hospital patients killed by an “angel of mercy” type of killer.
Tony Hill then compares the crime scene photo to Ophelia. Although the painting plays an interesting part in the plot development, it is never mentioned and never enters into any dialogue.
Added February 28, 2010: On the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood Facebook Page, Alexandrion Drallipo kindly shared images discovered from The Uninvited. I’ve never seen The Uninvited, but the synopsis at IMDB says “Anna Rydell returns home to her sister (and best friend) Alex after a stint in a mental hospital, though her recovery is jeopardized thanks to her cruel stepmother, aloof father, and the presence of a ghost in their home.”
Once again, a big thank you to Alexandrion Drallipo for sharing this siting from Russian Dolls (2005). Brief synopsis via IMDB: ” Five years after their summer together in Barcelona, Xavier, William, Wendy, Martine and Isabelle reunite.” (Stars the always wonderful Audrey Tatou) You can see Leighton’s famous painting The Accolade in the jigsaw puzzle:
Added April 23, 2010:
My dear friend Grace, who also writes one of my favorite blogs, spotted Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Proserpine in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the latest Narnia movie:
Added July 14, 2010: Alexandrion Drallipo has sent me two screen caps from An Education, a movie that several people have recommended to me. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s languishing in my Netflix queue. I hope to watch it soon.
I also want to thank Alexandrion for sharing — I’m sorry it has taken so long for me to post them! The first image shows The Tree of Forgiveness by Burne-Jones in the background. And in the second we can see a painting I have quite strong feelings for: The Beguiling of Merlin (also Burne-Jones):
Added July 25, 2011 Kirsty Stonell Walker sent me a treasure trove of sightings! First, from the movie Cashback (recommended by our mutual friend Grace) IMDB describes Cashback : “After a painful breakup, Ben develops insomnia. To kill time, he starts working the late night shift at the local supermarket, where his artistic imagination runs wild. “
The Bridesmaid by Millais is in the opening scene!
Kirsty’s next siting is from Me Without You. Here’s a description (again from IMDB): “Growing up in the 1970s on the Isle of Wight, Holly and Marina make a childhood pact to be friends forever. For the troubled, unpredictable Marina, with her seemingly glamorous father and her Valium-addicted mother, Holly stays the only constant in a life of divorcing parents, experimental drugs and fashionable self-destruction. Meanwhile, Holly buries herself in books out of feelings of frustration with her over-protective mother and a nagging insecurity around her beautiful and possessive best friend. She holds just one secret from Marina, her increasing passion for Marina’s brother Nat. As the years roll by, the girls experience everything life has to offer, sex, love, loss and rock ‘n roll. But eventually for Holly, a friendship which has never been equal gradually begins to feel like a trap. “
I would love to know who designed this set and what other projects they’ve worked on, because it’s filled with Pre-Raphaelite goodies in what looks like a pretty accurate portrayal of a 1970s teenage bedroom:
Notice the Alma Tadema painting just behind her.
In the left corner, we can see Rossetti’s Astarte Syriaca. And to the right, on the opposite wall, we see not one, but two Ophelias! One by Hughes, the other Millais.
On the door we can see Rossetti’s posthumous tribute to his wife, Beata Beatrix.
Pasted collage-style on her mirror are two images from Rossetti’s The Bower Meadow. I think the lower cut-out of Jane Morris is also Astarte Syriaca.
There is no Pre-Raphaelite painting in the screen cap above. But, come on! It’s very Pre-Raphaelite, reminiscent of a dryad?
On the door is The Golden Stair by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. To the right, on the wall, is another painting. There’s a glare, so I’m not entirely certain, but it looks like it could be from the Briar Rose/ Sleeping Beauty series (also Burne-Jones).
Just above her is Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs.
Below her, to the left, is Waterhouse’s Lady of Shalott. Above her, to the right, is Rossetti’s Proserpine.
Just behind her is Ophelia by Arthur Hughes.
On the bulletin board, we see an assortment of Pre-Raphaelite postcards (Monna Vanna, The Beloved, Beata Beatrix and Proserpine).
Another siting for the Unexpected Pre-Raphaelite Sitings list! Alexandrion Drallipo has noticed a William Morris wallpaper pattern in the movie Nim’s Island. This is the Arbutus pattern, seen here in screen caps:
Added April 21, 2013:
Thank you to Alexandrion Drallipo for discovering these images. William Morris’ Larkspur wallpaper in Finding Neverland:
William Morris’ Willow pattern wallpaper in the TV series Justified:
William Morris Windrush wallpaper in Django Unchained:
Thank you to Lisa Gill for noticing The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse in The Following: