Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Reading the Pre-Raphaelites: Revised Edition Paperback – April 24, 2012
See the Best Books of 2017 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Tim Barringer is Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University. His books include Men at Work: Art and Labour in Victorian Britain (Yale) and the exhibition catalogues American Sublime, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica (Yale), Opulence and Anxiety, and Before and After Modernism.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
Often, the summation of any one woman's contributions to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood is left up to individual biographers. Those writing the introductory texts frequently fall short of effectively identifying the enormous contributions of the Pre-Raphaelite women. Two such introductory texts are Timothy Hilton's _The Pre-Raphaelites_ and Tim Barringer's _Reading the Pre-Raphaelites_. Where the Pre-Raphaelite women are concerned, both texts provide a footnote to the art history of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood but really do little more than re-emphasizing the marginal status of the Pre-Raphaelite women.
In his Introduction, Barringer recognizes the artistic aptitude of Christina Rossetti as a poet, of Elizabeth Siddal as an artist, and of Jane Morris as an embroiderer. Furthermore, Barringer claims that the "full contribution of these artists, and a number of women less directly connected with Pre-Raphaelitism, has only recently been acknowledged" (14). With this affirmation, _Reading the Pre-Raphaelites_ promises to bring to the fore a considerable new interest in the works of the Pre-Raphaelite women. Barringer, however, does little to revise and reappraise the contributions of these women.
Where Christina Rossetti is concerned, Barringer mentions her only four times in his text: twice in the introduction (11, 14); once in relation to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, wherein he reprints her sonnet on the disintegration of the Brotherhood (135); and once in the epilogue (168). Jane Morris fares somewhat better with six mentions, including the inclusion of her painting _St Catherine_ (50). Mostly, however, Jane Morris rates mere mention as an appendage to either Dante Gabriel Rossetti or William Morris (136, 155, 156).
It is Elizabeth Siddal, however, who garners the most attention from Barringer, with a total of ten mentions. Barringer offers decent treatment to Siddal's _Pippa Passing the Loose Women_ (144-45) as well as to Dante Gabriel Rossetti's use of Siddal as a model (141-42). Barringer is even so generous as to include Dante Gabriel Rossetti's _The Artist sitting to Elizabeth Siddall_ [sic.] (141).
Timothy Hilton's _The Pre-Raphaelites_ purports to be an art book which "offers some adjustments to the straight art history" of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Additionally, Hilton's text supposedly offers a reinterpretation of the activities of several members in Dante Gabriel Rossetti's circle (7). _The Pre-Raphaelites_ precedes _Reading the Pre-Raphaelites_ by twenty-seven years and was written during the height of the Women's Movement (in the U.S.). That considered, it should come as no surprise that Hilton dwells slightly on the subjects of Jane Morris and Elizabeth Siddal. What does come as a bit of a surprise is that Hilton glosses over Christina Rossetti, treating her almost parenthetically. She rates a total of four references in Hilton's text (only three of which are indexed).
Hilton first refers to Christina Rossetti simply as one in a series of Rossetti children (26) and then again as one of the "various others" who joined the Brotherhood in their print undertaking _The Germ_ (50). She receives credit for sitting for the Virgin in her brother's The Girlhood of _Mary Virgin_ (94) and for being the recipient of one of her brother's letters (107).
Again, Jane Morris receives a slightly greater amount of recognition, although Hilton's references to her total only four. Hilton first mentions Morris as one of the objects of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's "many delineations," a credit which she shares with "Lizzy" Siddal (59). Hilton then dwells on Jane Morris for four pages, wherein he describes William Morris' profound love for her and displays several images of the beautiful Mrs. Morris, including William Morris' _Queen Guinivere_ (166-69). Jane Morris rates still another small note when Hilton inventories Dante Gabriel Rossetti's menagerie at Cheyne Walk, saying that Rossetti had "a Brahmin bull whose eyes reminded [him] of Jane Morris" (182). Finally, the author takes a moment to detail the love affair between Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Jane Morris (183-84).
Elizabeth Siddal, "Lizzy" as Hilton calls her, yet again rates the most references (seven), and not without cause. In addition to her credit as one of Rossetti's models (59, 175), she also receives note (this time parenthetically) as one who attempted to illustrate Wordsworth's "We are Seven" (60). With a series of illustrations and text, Hilton then describes the love affair between Siddal and Dante Rossetti (99-101) and then reiterates the strong affair by stating "Rossetti was busy with Lizzy Siddal" (107). Hilton sums up his mention of Siddal by detailing, if rather briefly, the weakening of the her marriage to Dante Rossetti, her eventual "accidental death," and Rossetti's subsequent depression (178-79).
While Hilton's text may offer slightly more insight into the lives of the Pre-Raphaelite women, neither his nor Barringer's text does justice to the lives of these three women. Yes, Elizabeth Siddal was perhaps the most intricately involved in the goings-on of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but Jane Morris' and Christina Rossetti's contributions should not receive the degree of dismissal that they do. Barringer's and Hilton's attempts at revisionist art histories fail and once again place the brunt of their focus on the men of the Brotherhood. Both authors allow the Pre-Raphaelite women to remain in the margins of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood history, and, in doing so, do a disservice to all women artists, no matter in whose shadow they may have stood in during life.
The book is organized topically, with separate chapters on Pre-Raphaelite medievalism, nature painting, modern life, religious painting, and Post-Pre-Raphaelitism (the latter including Whistler, Burne-Jones, and the Aesthetic Movement.)
The author tosses in a bit of "critical theory" from time to time, and on occasion can be judgmental about individual works. These negatives, though, are easily overcome by the author's clarity of writing and competence of interpretation, which lucidly ground these paintings in their social and artistic milieu. The book's bibliography and index are marginal, but the quality of its color printing is exceptional, much better than in many more expensive art books.
In summary, this book would be a good buy for the student or other reader who wants a general, thematic introduction to the Pre-Raphaelites.