The 18th and 19th Centuries


 

 



Neoclassicism and Romanticism

 



(Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map)
 

 



The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood


 



Thomas Woolner

James Collinson



see also collections:


The Pre-Raphaelites -
Stained Glass Windows



William Morris - designer



see collections:

William Dyce


 

 
 
 

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

group of young British painters who banded together in 1848 in reaction against what they conceived to be the unimaginative and artificial historical painting of the Royal Academy and who purportedly sought to express a new moral seriousness and sincerity in their works. They were inspired by Italian art of the 14th and 15th centuries, and their adoption of the name Pre-Raphaelite expressed their admiration for what they saw as the direct and uncomplicated depiction of nature typical of Italian painting before the High Renaissance and, particularly, before the time of Raphael. Although the Brotherhood's active life lasted not quite five years, its influence on painting in Britain, and ultimately on the decorative arts and interior design, was profound.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was formed in 1848 by three Royal Academy students: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who was a gifted poet as well as a painter, William Holman Hunt, and John Everett Millais, all under 25 years of age. The painter James Collinson, the painter and critic F.G. Stephens, the sculptor Thomas Woolner, and the critic William Michael Rossetti (Dante Gabriel's brother) joined them by invitation. The painters William Dyce and Ford Madox Brown, who acted in part as mentors to the younger men, came to adapt their own work to the Pre-Raphaelite style.

The Brotherhood immediately began to produce highly convincing and significant works. Their pictures of religious and medieval subjects strove to revive the deep religious feeling and naive, unadorned directness of 15th-century Florentine and Sienese painting. The style that Hunt and Millais evolved featured sharp and brilliant lighting, a clear atmosphere, and a near-photographic reproduction of minute details. They also frequently introduced a private poetic symbolism into their representations of biblical subjects and medieval literary themes. Rossetti's work differed from that of the others in its more arcane aesthetic and in the artist's general lack of interest in copying the precise appearance of objects in nature. Vitality and freshness of vision are the most admirable qualities of the seearly Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

Some of the founding members exhibited their first works anonymously, signing their paintings with the monogram PRB. When their identity and youth were discovered in 1850, their work was harshly criticized by the novelist Charles Dickens, among others, not only for its disregard of academic ideals of beauty but also for its apparent irreverence in treating religious themes with an uncompromising realism. Nevertheless, the leading art critic of the day, John Ruskin, stoutly defended Pre-Raphaelite art, and the members of the group were never without patrons.

By 1854 the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood had gone their individual ways, but their style had a wide influence and gained many followers during the 1850s and early '60s. In the late 1850s Dante Gabriel Rossetti became associated with the younger painters Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris and moved closer to a sensual and almost mystical romanticism. Millais, the most technically gifted painter of the group, went on to become an academic success. Hunt alone pursued the same style throughout most of his career and remained true to Pre-Raphaelite principles. Pre-Raphaelitism in its later stage is epitomized by the paintings of Burne-Jones, characterized by a jewel-toned palette, elegantly attenuated figures, and highlyimaginative subjects and settings.

 

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William Morris

born March 24, 1834, Walthamstow, near London
died Oct. 3, 1896, Hammersmith, near London


English designer, craftsman, poet, and early Socialist, whose designs for furniture, fabrics, stained glass, wallpaper, and other decorative products generated the Arts and Crafts Movement in England and revolutionized Victorian taste.
 

 


Arts and Crafts Movement


English aesthetic movement of the second half of the 19th century that represented the beginning of a new appreciation of the decorative arts throughout Europe. By 1860 a few people had become profoundly disturbed by the level to which style, craftsmanship, and public taste had sunk in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and its mass-produced andbanal decorative arts. Among them was the English reformer, poet, and designer William Morris, who, in 1861, founded a firm of interior decorators and manufacturers dedicated to recapturing the spirit and quality of medieval craftsmanship. Morris and his associates (among them the architect Philip Webb and the painters Ford Madox Brown and Edward Burne-Jones) produced handcrafted metalwork, jewelry, wallpaper, textiles, furniture, and books. To this datemany of their designs are copied by designers and furniture manufacturers.
By the 1880s Morris' efforts had widened the appeal of the Arts and Crafts Movement to a new generation. In 1882 the English architect and designer Arthur H. Mackmurdo helped organize the Century Guild for craftsmen, one of several such groups established about this time. These men revived the art of hand printing and championed the idea that there was no meaningful difference between the fine and decorative arts. Many converts, both from professional artists' ranks and from among the intellectual class as a whole, helped spread the ideas of the movement.
The main controversy raised by the movement—as no one ever denied the quality or aesthetic appeal of the work produced—was its practicality in the modern world. The progressives claimed that the movement was trying to turn back the clock and that it could not be done, that the Arts and Crafts Movement could not be taken as practical in mass urban and industrialized society. On the other hand, a reviewer who criticized an 1893 exhibition as “the work of a few for the few” also realized that it represented a graphic protest against design as “a marketable affair, controlled by the salesmen and the advertiser, and at the mercy of every passing fashion.”
In the 1890s approval of the Arts and Crafts Movement widened, and the movement became diffused and less specifically identified with a small group of people. Its ideas spread to other countries and became identified with the growing international interest in design, specifically with Art Nouveau.
 



Education and early career.

Morris was born in an Essex village on the southern edge of Epping Forest, a member of a large and well-to-do family. From his preparatory school, he went at the age of 13 to Marlborough College. A schoolfellow describes him at this time as “a thick-set, strong-looking boy, with a high colour and black curly hair, good-natured and kind, but with a fearfultemper.” At Marlborough, Morris said that he learned “next to nothing . . . for indeed next to nothing was taught.” As in later life, he learned only what he wanted to learn.

In 1853 Morris went to Exeter College at Oxford, where he met Edward Jones (later the painter and designer Burne-Jones), who was to become his lifelong friend. Both Morris and Jones became deeply affected by the High Church (Anglo-Catholic) movement of the Church of England, and it was assumed that they would become clergymen. Nevertheless, it was the writings of John Ruskin on the social and moral basis of architecture (particularly the chapter “On the Nature of Gothic” in The Stones of Venice) that came to Morris “with the force of a revelation.” After taking his degree in 1856, he entered the Oxford office of the Gothic Revivalist architect G.E. Street. In the same year he financed the first 12 monthly issues of The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, where many of those poems appeared that, two years later, were reprinted in his remarkable first published work, The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems.

Visits with Street and Burne-Jones to Belgium and northern France, where he first saw the 15th-century paintings of Hans Memling and the Van Eyck brothers and the cathedrals of Amiens, Chartres, and Rouen, confirmed Morris in his love of medieval art. It was at this time that he came under the powerful influence of the Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who persuaded him to give up architecture for painting and enrolled him among the band of friends who were decorating the walls of the Oxford Union with scenes from Arthurian legend based on Le Morte Darthur by the 15th-century English writer Sir Thomas Malory. Only one easel painting by Morris survives: “La Belle Iseult,” or “Queen Guenevere” (Tate Gallery, London). His model was Jane Burden, the beautiful, enigmatic daughter of an Oxford groom. He married her in 1859, but the marriage was to prove a source of unhappiness to both. Morris appears at this time, in the memoirs of the painter Val Prinsep, as “a short square man with spectacles and a vast mop of dark hair.” It was observed “how decisive he was: how accurate, without any effort or formality: what an extraordinary power of observation lay at the base of many of his casual or incidental remarks.” From 1856 to 1859 Morris shared a studio with Burne-Jones in Red Lion Square, London, for which he designed, according to Rossetti, “some intensely medieval furniture.”

After his marriage, Morris commissioned his friend the architect Philip Webb, whom he had originally met in Street's office, to build the Red House at Bexleyheath (so called because it was built of red brick when the fashion was for stucco villas). It was during the furnishing and decorating of this house by Morris and his friends that the idea came to them of founding an association of “fine art workmen,” whichin April 1861 became the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Company with premises in Red Lion Square. The other members of the firm were Ford Madox Brown, D.G. Rossetti, Webb, and Burne-Jones. At the International Exhibition of 1862 at South Kensington they exhibited stained glass, furniture, and embroideries. This led to commissions to decorate the new churches then being built by G.F. Bodley, notably St. Martin's-on-the-Hill at Scarborough. The apogee of the firm's decorative work is the magnificent series of stained-glass windows designed during the next decade by Burne-Jones for Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge, the roof being painted by Morris and Webb. The designs for these windows came to Morris uncoloured, and it was he who chose the colours and put in the lead lines. He also designed many other windows himself, for both domestic and ecclesiastical use.

Two daughters, Jenny and May, were born in 1861 and 1862, and altogether the five years spent at Red House were the happiest of Morris' life. After a serious attack of rheumatic fever, brought on by overwork, he moved in 1865 to Bloomsbury in London. The greater part of his new house wasgiven over to the firm's workshops—an arrangement that, combined with her husband's boisterous manners and Rossetti's infatuation with her, reduced Jane to a state of neurotic invalidism. Morris' first wallpaper designs, “Trellis,” “Daisy,” and “Fruit,” or “Pomegranate,” belong to 1862–64; he did not arrive at his mature style until 10 years later, with the “Jasmine” and “Marigold” papers.


Iceland and Socialism.

As a poet, he first achieved fame and success with the romantic narrative The Life and Death of Jason (1867). In the 20th century, however, Jason, with its lax, easily flowing couplets, appears diffuse to the point of tenuity. All painful emotion is carefully avoided or smothered in prettiness, as italso is in his next work, in the seemingly endless stories of The Earthly Paradise (1868–70), a series of narrative poems based on classical and medieval sources. The best parts of The Earthly Paradise are the introductory poems on the months, in which Morris reveals his personal unhappiness. A sterner spirit informs his principal poetic achievement, the epic Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs (1876), written after a prolonged study of the sagas (medieval prose narratives) read by Morris in the original Old Norse. The exquisitely illuminated Book of Verse, telling once more of hopeless love and dedicated to Georgiana Burne-Jones, belongs to 1870.

In 1871 Morris and Rossetti took the Elizabethan manor house of Kelmscott in Oxfordshire. In the same year Morris paid his first visit to Iceland, and the journal he kept of his travels contains some of his most vigorous descriptive writing. He returned to Iceland in 1873. The joint tenancy of Kelmscott, however, was never a success, and, after the finalbreakdown of his health in 1874, Rossetti left the house for good, to Morris' great relief. At the same time, the firm was reorganized under his sole proprietorship as Morris & Company. In 1875 Morris began his revolutionary experiments with vegetable dyes, which, after the removal in 1881 of the firm to larger premises at Merton Abbey in Surrey, resulted in their finest printed and woven fabrics, carpets, and tapestries. In 1877 Morris gave his first public lecture, “The Decorative Arts” (later called “The Lesser Arts”), and his first collection of lectures, Hopes and Fears for Art, appeared in 1882. In 1877 he also founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in an attempt to combat the drastic methods of restoration then being carried out on the cathedrals and parish churches of Great Britain.

The Morris family moved into Kelmscott House (named after their country house in Oxfordshire), at Hammersmith, in 1878. Five years later Morris joined Henry Mayers Hyndman's Democratic (later Social Democratic) Federation and began his tireless tours of industrial areas to spread the gospel of Socialism. But he was considerately treated by the authorities, even when leading a banned demonstration to London's Trafalgar Square on “Bloody Sunday” (Nov. 13, 1887), when the police, supported by troops, cleared the square of demonstrators. On this occasion he marched with the playwright George Bernard Shaw at his side. But by this time Morris had quarrelled with the autocratic Hyndman Federation and formed the Socialist League, with its own publication, The Commonweal, in which his two finest romances, A Dream of John Ball (1886–87) and News from Nowhere (1890), an idyllic vision of a Socialist rural utopia, appeared. Subsequently, he founded the Hammersmith Socialist Society, which held weekly lectures in the coach house next door to Kelmscott House as well as open-air meetings in different parts of London.

The Kelmscott Press.

The Kelmscott Press was started in 1891, with the printer andtype designer Emery Walker as typographical adviser, and between that year and 1898 produced 53 titles in 66 volumes. Morris designed three type styles for his press: Golden type, modelled on that of Nicolas Jenson, the 15th-century French printer; Troy type, a gothic font on the model of the early German printers of the 15th century; and Chaucer type, a smaller variant of Troy, in which The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer was printed during the last years of his life. One of the greatest examples of the art of the printed book, Chaucer is the most highly decorated of the Kelmscott publications. Most of the Kelmscott books were plain and simple, for Morris observed that 15th-century books were “always beautiful by force of the mere typography.”


Death and assessment.

A sea voyage to Norway in the summer of 1896 failed to revive Morris' flagging energies, and he died that autumn after returning home, worn out by the multiplicity of his activities. He was buried at Kelmscott beneath a simple gravestone designed by Philip Webb.

Morris is now regarded as one of the great men of the 19th century, though he turned away from what he called “the dullsqualor of civilization” to romance, myth, and epic. Followinghis contemporary the art critic John Ruskin, Morris defined beauty in art as the result of man's pleasure in his work and asked, “Unless people care about carrying on their business without making the world hideous, how can they care about Art?” To Morris, art included the whole man-made environment.

In his own time William Morris was most widely known as the author of The Earthly Paradise and for his designs for wallpapers, textiles, and carpets. Since the mid-20th century it is as a designer and craftsman, rather than as poet or politician, that Morris is valued most, though future generations may esteem him more as a social and moral critic, a pioneer of the society of equality.

Philip Prichard Henderson
 

 


William Morris
Queen Guenevere
1858
Oil on canvas
Tate Gallery, London


 

see also:


William Morris

-
designer



see also:

Stained Glass Windows


William Morris

Guinevere and Iseult: Cartoon for Stained Glass
1862

 

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Thomas Woolner

(b Hadleigh, Suffolk, 17 Dec 1825; d London, 7 Oct 1892).

English sculptor and poet. He ranks with John Henry Foley as the leading sculptor of mid-Victorian England. He trained with William Behnes and in 1842 enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy, London. In 1844 he exhibited at Westminster Hall, London, a life-size plaster group, the Death of Boadicea (destr.), in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain sculptural commissions for the Houses of Parliament. His earliest important surviving work is the statuette of Puck (plaster, 1845–7; C. G. Woolner priv. col.), which was admired by William Holman Hunt and helped to secure Woolner’s admission in 1848 to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The work’s Shakespearean theme and lifelike execution, stressing Puck’s humorous malice rather than traditional ideal beauty, made it highly appealing. Although eclipsed by Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Woolner was an important figure in the Brotherhood. He contributed poetry to its journal, The Germ (1850), and his work was committed to truthfulness to nature more consistently than that of any other Pre-Raphaelite, except for Hunt. This is evident in Woolner’s monument to William Wordsworth (marble, 1851; St Oswald, Grasmere, Cumbria). This relief portrait, which conveys both the poet’s physiognomy and his intellect, is flanked by botanically faithful renditions of flowers, emphasizing Wordsworth’s doctrine that in Woolner’s words, ‘common things can be made equally suggestive and instructive with the most exalted subjects’.
 

 


Thomas Woolner

Puck
1845

 

 


Thomas Woolner
Achilles shouting from the Trenches

 

 


Thomas Woolner
Stephen Lushington

 


Thomas Woolner
Bust of Alfred Tennyson


Thomas Woolner
Bust of Charles Darwin

 

 
 


Thomas Woolner
Bust of Arthur Hugh Clough


Thomas Woolner
Bust of Frederick Temple

 


 

 

Thomas Woolner
Eros and Euphrosyne

 


Thomas Woolner
Reliefs illustrating scenes from the Iliad, for Gladstone memorial bust 1865-66

 

 

Thomas Woolner
Virgilia Bewailing the Banishment of Coriolanus

 

 

Thomas Woolner
The Crucifixion
1876

 

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James Collinson

(b Mansfield, 9 May 1825; d London, 24 Jan 1881).

English painter. He was the son of a Nottinghamshire bookseller. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools, London, where he was a fellow student of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt. Although quiet and unobtrusive, he caught the attention of critics when he exhibited the Charity Boy’s Début at the Royal Academy in 1847 (sold London, Christie’s, 26 Oct 1979, lot 256). The painting was praised for its truthfulness and use of minute detail. It was admired by Rossetti, who sought out Collinson and befriended him. The following year saw the formation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB), which Rossetti invited Collinson to join. Around this date Collinson renounced Catholicism and became engaged to Christina Rossetti; possibly this influenced the other members of the PRB in favour of his election to their number. However, he was never a leading member of the Brotherhood.
   
 

James Collinson
The Renunciation of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary

 

 

James Collinson
Temptation

 

 

James Collinson
Home Again
1856

 

 

James Collinson
The Empty Purse

 

 

James Collinson
Answering the Emigrant's Letter

1850

 

 

James Collinson
Holy Family

 

 

James Collinson
Childhood
1855

 

 

James Collinson
Boys at a Roadside Alehouse  
 


see collections:


William Morris - designer

William Dyce


see also:

Stained Glass Windows


 
 
 

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