Jane Morris-The Muse


Until 21st September 2014, there is an exhibition at The Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight. It is called ‘Rosetti’s Obsession:Images of Jane Morris.

Jane Morris, with her unusual features, personally I would not say classically beautiful, just STUNNING,soon became the face of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,one of whose founding members was Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She was from a very poor family, was’discovered’ after a theatre trip by Rossetti, met and married William Morris,he of the English Arts and Crafts fame, and had two daughters. She educated herself,spoke various languages,maintained affairs-and all while posing for some of the most beautiful paintings to be associated with the PRB. She was a very busy woman!
The exhibition combines pencil sketches and pastel drawings, Rossetti’s need to capture her and contain her image,whether in repose or in the large works such as ‘La Donna della Fiamma’1877 is consuming.
There are lovely photographs of Jane in the poses that she was painted or drawn in. Victorian photographs always seem to surprise me, a true likeness always looks harsh and just a bit creepy,great to see any way.
But for me, seeing ‘Proserpine’ 1874, was the highlight of the exhibition! It’s colour and detail need to be appreciated, and I felt very lucky to have seen it close up.

Proserpine 1874 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Proserpine 1874 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The exhibition shows the woman behind those famous paintings,from young muse,to mother ( a letter to her newly divorced and disgraced daughter was touching) and to older, infirm lady. I began to think of it more as a record of Jane’s life story rather than Rossetti’s obsession. It is an intimate exhibition of a muses relationship not only with her artist but the developments from it.

Here is a link for more information,please go see it, IT’S FREE (a donation would be nice though!) And coffee and cake in the cafe makes for a pleasant ending to your visit.



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