Rossetti never exhibited at the RA but in the many new exhibitions that were
starting up such as the Free Exhibition (Girlhood of Mary Virgin, 1849)
Roger Fry and Clive Bell put on a “Manet and the Post-Impressionists”
exhibition in 1910-11 ( see
Bloomsbury Group biographies ).
There is a tendency to negativise the English tradition. Can we free
ourselves from continually comparing artistic development in England versus
France and instead look at the co-operation and the continual travelling to and
fro by artists and dealers.
It is all to do with markets and prices. At the Christies Forbes sales of
Victorian art some works were incredibly cheap or did not sell, for example an
Etty nude was �2,000.
Linnell, Harvest Moon, 1858
Linnell and Palmer by mid-century were producing rural scenes like Harvest
Moon, 1858, that had a very strong market because of nationalism, more
prosperity coming out of the hungry 40s, nostalgia for a lost rural world,
national pride, productivity,and a conservatist mood. Industrialization
threatening rural scenes. Appealed to middle-class people.
Dealers Agnews, Gambert, are very important. They are the reason things
happen. They sold images like this to the middle class. The middle-class were so
diverse a group that this allowed certain types of new art to develop as there
was always a section of the group that liked the new approach.
Vicat Cole, Harvest Time, 1860
Vicat Cole, Harvesters
Post 1848 confidence and “high” farming. Farming like an industrial nation
not relying on old prejudices.
1848 there was an ambiguity, a tension, between idealism and naturalism, e.g.
is Harvesters high farming or idealised.
Rural poetry and Child Labour
Shields, One of our Breadwatchers, 1866
Davis, Harrowing, 1859. A small boy behind two horses.
Slightly sentimentalised. Creates a philathropic relationship. Charity was a
very well organised private enterprise in Victorian England, a huge activity
that was central to the culture. The middle-class mobilised a massive charity
movement. Was it a woman’s role to do charitable work? (see the women in Maddox
Brown’s Work). It was not all hypocritical. Often females and children are
portrayed in paintings.
Walker, The Vagrants, 1868. Rural unemployment.
Deverell, The Irish Vagrants
Rossetti, Found. These last two paintings are two of the strongest images and
yet neither are finsihed works.
Realism creates a continuity leading to the PRB. There is also a continuity
with France, Millet and Bastian Lepage. The belief was that a painting should
have an actual location and real models. This was the key for the PRB and in
France. This continuity goes right back to for example:
Bonnington, French Coast with Fishermen, 1825
Legros, was a successful painter in London. Whistler was a follower of
Courbet in London.
An acknowledgement of the painted surface as a measure of modernity invented
in 1960s by Greenberg, Modern Painting.
Whistler, The Coast of Brittany, 1861. Nostalgia for the past, escapism?
Robertson Read, A Country Cricketer, 1878
Robertson Read, Toil and Pleasure, 1879 (note the hunt in the background and
the rosy cheeks and the white dress).
Leon L’Hermitte and Bastian Lepage were adored in Britain.
Bastian Lepage, October Potato Gatherers, 1879. Heroic, a pride in the work.
He was taking the ideas of Courbet and making them acceptable to the Salon. Not
a threat tothe viewer, there are no holes in the clothes and they are not
looking at us.
Bastian Lepage, Bl�s Murs
Helen Allingham, Springtime at Lower Denhay, Bridport, c.1900
French Art in Nineteenth Century Britain, E. Morris (Ph.D. thesis), few
images but the comprehensive story of every trip to and from Britain by artists
Hunt’s memoirs, see the quote against Impressionism because of the lack of
effort and work (the Victorian work ethic). The examples are actually taken from
Trilby, a novel and stage play, clearly a successful myth-making text. Trilby