Women of the Pre-Raphaelite Circle

Christina Rossetti Sister of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and critic William Michael Rossetti. A talented poet in her own right, Christina can be seen in several early works of her brother’s, namely The Girlhood of the Virgin Mary and Ecce Ancilla Domini. Read more. Elizabeth Siddal Lizzie helped shape the concept of a “Pre-Raphaelite … Read more

Maria Zambaco

The saga of Maria Zambaco is one of the most melodramatic in Pre-Raphaelite lore, which is remarkable given the abundance of tumult that surrounded the Brotherhood. Born into a wealthy Anglo-Greek family, Maria was an accomplished artist who studied under sculptor Auguste Rodin. She also appears in works by several Pre-Raphaelite artists, including Sir Edward … Read more

Burne-Jones representations of Nimue

Le Morte d’Arthur captivated Edward Burne-Jones. His passion for all things Arthurian dated back to his days as an undergraduate at Oxford, when he and close friend William Morris would read the tales together.  Burne-Jones painted Arthurian subjects several times in his career, including the famous The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon. Merlin was … Read more

What is the “Pre-Raphaelite Woman”?

florence and the machine

Women are central figures in Pre-Raphaelite art, and this has given rise to the concept of a “Pre-Raphaelite Woman.” I frequently see the term in the media, usually describing an actress or singer with long curly hair. Florence Welch is often described as Pre-Raphaelite, a look she has embraced. But was there a unified ideal? If we look … Read more

The Worst Man in London

  Seven years after her death, the coffin of Elizabeth Siddal was exhumed so that her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, could publish the poetry he had buried with her. It was a secret act, yet eventually the deed came to be known and has added a macabre tinge to the tale of Elizabeth Siddal. Rossetti … Read more

The End of the Affair

When Psyche is distraught over the loss of her love Eros, she attempts suicide in a river.  She survives and the god Pan offers her comfort and advice. Burne-Jones painted this version of Pan and Psyche after his lover, Maria Zambaco, attempted to throw herself in Regent’s Canal in an ugly and embarrassing scene.  It … Read more

The Beguiling of Merlin

The Beguiling of Merlin is a special painting to me, as mentioned in this previous post from 2007 . Painted by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones in the 1870s, this painting shares  the entrapment of Merlin.    There are many different versions of the tale of Merlin and Nimue.  Nimue is a Lady of the Lake and is … Read more