Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A Trio of Pre-Raphaelite books

Here are the books I am reading at the moment - one at work (during my lunch hour) and the others at home. The good thing is that they are all on the same subject, so overlap and interweave beautifully. 'Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood' and 'Jane and May Morris' are the library books and 'Circle of Sisters' is my own. I bought it following an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite art at Nottingham Art Gallery in 2005, and had not got around to reading it.
The books are about the women in the Pre-Raphaelite circle; Jane Morris, Lizzie Siddal, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Annie Miller, Fanny Cornforth and Emma Madox Brown, who were all models and muses to the various artists, as well as wives in some cases. Dr Jan Marsh is an authority on the Pre-Raphaelites and her research is thorough, but is also easy to read. I don't think any of these women had an easy life, there were many social conventions and certainly a stigma attached to being an artist's model. Some of them also were artists in their own right but were not able to continue their own work once they were married or were not given much recognition during their own lifetime.
I am particularly interested in the children in these marriages; what happened to them and how did they cope with their famous parents? (I think I shall have to buy the other two books as they are ones I shall return to. Our house is rapidly turning into a library and it is no surprise that I don't seem to have any money!)

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