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Showing posts from November, 2020

Virginia Woolf reflects on Christina Rossetti and Annie Thackeray Ritchie from Virginia Woolf's A Writer's Diary

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  Virginia Woolf by George Charles Beresford platinum print, July, 1902 What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking  through them. Christina Rossetti by Lewis Carroll albumen print, 7 October 1863 National Portrait Gallery 1918 Monday, August 4th Christina (Rossetti) has the great distinction of being a born poet, as she seems to have known very well herself. But if I were bringing a case against God she is one of the first witnesses I should call. It is melancholy reading. First she starved herself of love, which meant also life; then of poetry in deference to what she thought her religion demanded. There were two good suitors. The first indeed had his peculiarities. He had a conscience.She could only marry a particula

A review of The Glass House by Jody Cooksley

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  What is a life without Art and Beauty? Not one that Julia chooses to live. And so she searches the world for both, discovering happiness through the lens of a camera.  A fictional account of pioneer photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron, and her extraordinary quest to find her own creative voice, The Glass House brings an exceptional photographer to life.  From the depths of despair, with her relationships strained and having been humiliated by the artists she has given a home to, Julia rises to fame, photographing and befriending many of the days most famous literary, artistic, political and scientific celebrities. But to succeed as a female photographer, she must take on the Victorian patriarchy, the art world and, ultimately, her own family. And the doubts are not all from others. As Julia's uneasy relationship with fame grows into a fear that the camera has taken part of her soul, her search leads her full circle, back to India, in her lifelong quest for peace and beauty. A po

Review of Portrait of a Muse by Andrew Gailey

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  Frances Graham, Edward Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelite Dream The first biography of Frances Graham, the muse of leading Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones for the last 25 years of his life. Her life is a study in power – artistic, social, political, familial, sexual – and fascinating for being played out from a perennial position of weakness. The tale of a remarkable woman living in an age on the cusp of modernity.  ‘You haunt me everywhere.’ So wrote Edward Burne-Jones to Frances Graham, his muse for the last 25 triumphant years of his life: ‘I haven’t a corner of my life or my thoughts where you are not’.  He drew her obsessively, included her in some of his most famous paintings, and showered her with gifts. Even when she betrayed him to marry, he would return to her.  To him ’all the romance and beauty of my life means you.’ This is the first biography of his muse.  What makes a muse? The word conjures up for the artist a human cocoon of sexual allure and worship: part