The Poetry of Drawing

Lady Lillith by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Last Friday, Dapper and I enjoyed an excursion into Birmingham to attend The Poetry of Drawing: Pre-Raphaelite Designs, Studies and Watercolours at the Gas Hall.

The Gas Hall

Being fond of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and having recently devoured a biography of model and favourite of Rossetti, Fanny Cornforth, I was excited to see the exhibition.

Portrait of Fanny Cornforth by D G Rossetti

I was especially excited as the exhibition included previously unseen portraits including a study of Fanny, above. In many cases I prefer the studies and portraits to the end paintings the Brotherhood produced, as they offer a more life-like representation of the models themselves. I wasn’t disappointed by this one, indeed, I believe I fell just a little more in love with Fanny every second I lingered, gazing into her eyes. And I lingered quite a while, even going back on myself for one last look before leaving the exhibition hall.

The Lady of Shallott by William Holman Hunt

It is fascinating to me to see the many preparatory drawings that led to the final masterpieces we know and love so well. Equally, to note the detail that went into even the most preliminary sketches, studying the drape of the fabric in a tunic or the ruffles of a multi-layered dress:

Framley Parsonage: Was it not a lie? by Millais

I am easily drawn in by the romanticism of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and the not-so-glamourous lives of the women who inspired them. And I could spend hours reading about and studying the fruits of their labours.

Wagner – the perfect accompaniment to Pre-Raphaelite paintings


2 thoughts on “The Poetry of Drawing

  1. (And yes I know that’s a mixed metaphor with the Lancelot bit. I guess I’m Guenivere too? I dunno. Don’t think about it too much. :-P)

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