Insights: The Pre-Raphaelite Circle

Cover of Insights: The Pre-Raphaelite Circle

Out of Print

Jan Marsh

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – whose members included Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt – sought to overturn the principles of classical painting and make art true to nature. This beautiful and accessible book explores their art and ideas, demonstrating how together this group of men and women revolutionised our perceptions about how contemporary artists should live, look and behave.

Renowned as much for their bohemian lifestyle as for their art, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood brought notoriety to British painting in the nineteenth century. The
Pre-Raphaelites set out to reform contemporary art, to make it ‘true to nature’. Yet their greater achievement was to change public perceptions about what it means to be an artist.

This book describes and illustrates the lives of the Pre-Raphaelites, revealing both their social relationships and artistic ideals. Born from the youthful enthusiasm of John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the Brotherhood was founded as a semi-secret group committed to exposing the art of the Royal Academy as tired, trivial and ‘sloshy’. Their pictures made an initial impression, inviting criticism as outlandish, ugly, crude and irreverent. But, from the beginning, their private lives – from the tragedy of Elizabeth Siddal’s drug-induced demise to the triumph of Millais’ appointment as President of the RA – attracted equal notoriety.

Jan Marsh’s compelling account of these remarkable men and women uses their contemporary portraits to explore both the individual personalities, as well as the artistic force that bound the circle together.

Pub. date: December 2011, Price: £9.99, ISBN: 978 1 85514 446 0, Format: 210 x 140 mm, Extent: 128 pages, Illustrations: 85, of which 65 in colour, Binding: Hardback, Category: Fine Art/Biography, Word Count: 20,000

More information

Jan Marsh is a writer specialising in biographies of artists and authors. Her books include William Morris and Red House (2006). Exhibitions include Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists (1997) and Black Victorians (2005). She is working on the Later Victorian Portraits online catalogue for the National Portrait Gallery and editing the correspondence of Jane Morris.

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