Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy

Edward Burne-Jones, Music, 1877, copyright The Ashmolean
Last night we went to the private view for The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy at the Ashmolean. The exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to see lesser known works by well known Pre-Raphaelites; Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Hunt and Ruskin are all on show. What was particularly interesting is that a lot of landscapes of Italy are on display which was great as I haven't seen many Pre-Raphaelite landscapes before. Looking at all the paintings of beautiful Italian landscapes was a perfect way to whet my appetite as I only have a week and a half before I will be in Italy basking in the autumnal sun and scoffing as many olives as I can find!

I love Burne-Jones and one of the real treats of this exhibition is that Andrew Lloyd-Webber has lent The Fall of Lucifer from his private collection. The painting is haunting and at 2.5 metres high is quite over-powering. The gilded edge contrasts beautifully with the gloomy, lowly colours of the painting as Lucifer and his reprobate angels fall from heaven.

Cycling home through the quiet streets of Oxford is such a delight at this time of year. Our way home was lit by the stars and we were accompanied by the peal of bells as bell-ringers were practising for Sunday. September is one of my favourite months as the smell of woodsmoke starts to creep in and the gentle chill reminds me that cosy evenings are on their way.

I am going to plan the books that I will take with me to Italy. Thank you for all your Italy inspired reading suggestions. I now have to narrow it down so that I leave some room for my toothbrush.


  1. Am very much looking forward to visiting this exhibition! How did I not grasp that you lived in Oxford too???

  2. Dear BB, I too am very fond of the Pre-Raphaelites and am sure that I should enjoy this exhibition at the Ashmolean. For many years I was a frequent visitor to the Barber Institute in Birmingham which holds a remarkable collection of Pre-Raphaelite work. I do not know if you have ever been there, but if not, it is certainly well worth a visit.

  3. Oh, I love Burne-Jones. His paintings are just like Oscar Wilde's writing, which is to say, they make me happy. :)

  4. ooh I read and saw a great piece inspired by this exhibition in The observer. How wonderful for it to be on your doorstep.

  5. I saw an exhibition about Burne-Jones this sommer in Bern (Switzerland) and liked it very much :-)

  6. Jealousy...I'd LOVE to see this!!! Oh well, the Met has some good Pre Raphaelite paintings...;)

  7. How lovely, I've only seen the Pre-Raphaelites' work reproduced in books. I'm new in these parts but I enjoy your blog, its like a slice of pie. I hope you have a wonderful time in Italy.

  8. I love the Pre-Raphaelites but my favourite has to be JWW. Lucky you - making the most of what Oxford has to offer I see!

    You are SUCH an avid book-reader, I think you may need an extra suitcase!