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June 2024

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une — and just in case you're still planning your holidays, or haven't quite decided yet where to go, here is a tempting possibility. Take a look at Dennis T. Lanigan's review of Preraffaelliti Rinascimento Moderno [Pre-Raphaelites Modern Renaissance] at the San Domenico Museum in Italy from February 24-June 30, 2024. It sounds fabulous. The review has plenty of installation shots so if you can't manage a trip by the end of the month, you can fit in a virtual visit. Highly recommended! More new virtual experiences are on offer in our podcast list: our History Editor, Dory Agazarian, has added three which all sound fascinating.

There are new conferences and calls for papers, too. Click on this link for the latest news about them. Too late now for our last-minute alert: the keynotes of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals' annual conference (June 13-15), in Stirling, Scotland, were free to join via Microsoft Teams. Don't miss anything else: check here!

Looking east this time, Jackie Banerjee added a review article of two recent books, both demonstrating and catering for the widening horizons of the Victorian period: Asian Classics on the Victorian Bookshelf: Flights of Translation, by Alexander Bubb, and Words in Collision: Multilingualism in English-Language Fiction, by Michael L. Ross. She also added a revealing "Parliamentary Portrait" of the young Disraeli from the Illustrated London News of 1844, and some extra material on St James's Palace, London, where a young Victoria danced the night away at her birthday ball in 1833, and was not just amused but (as she wrote in her journal) "very much amused."

At Shirley Nicholson's urging, JB also did some research on the very first teacher-training college, St Mark's in Chelsea, and found a report on the original buildings for it, including the chapel (an essential part of the foundation). This led to a new entry for the architect Henry Clutton. Looking through old journals, JB came across another informative account, this time of Jessie Marion King's Glasgow-style work, and put this online as well, together with its illustrations. George Landow had already downloaded a few of these: it was a special pleasure to complete what was evidently one of his last pieces of work-in-progress.

Similarly, JB extended a brief list of Victorian autobiographies that George had once assembled, adding more titles, including some by artists, architects etc, and providing short annotations. The inspiration for this came from a query on the Victoria list of scholarly exchanges run by Patrick Leary. It's a great pleasure to participate in this friendly and collaborative project.

Philip Allingham, our Contribtuing Editor from Canada, continues to revise some of his very earliest work on the website, and fill in some gaps, mainly on the illustrations for Dickens's Christmas stories (and their stage adaptations), but for some other pieces too. For example, he updated John Leech's illustrations for Douglas Jerrold's Mrs Caudle's Curtain Lectures. Here are the Caudles on a pleasure boat, with Mr Caudle annoyng the missus by smoking and having a brandy on deck, while she gets blown about in the wind....

After his visit to Italy, Dennis T. Lanigan came up with another artist associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, the memorably named William Shakespeare Burton. Burton's best-known painting was The Wounded Cavalier, and Dennis has written at length about this striking and in some ways very intriguing work, but Burton's other paintings and illustrations are also memorable. This artist's second wife was the novelist, M. E. Burton — something we definitely plan to follow up.

Now here's a question: did you know that in Dracula, Bram Stoker switches narrators over ninety times? Many thanks to Review 19 for sharing with us Tobias Wilson-Bates's informative review of Alexandra Valint's Narrative Bonds: Multiple Narrators in the Victorian Novel.

Thanks also to Shirley Nicholson, who not only points to gaps in our coverage, but has been continuing to proofread for us, focusing currently on the illustrations of Gustave Doré. Another question: how have we managed (sometimes, not always!) to get the accent on his name the wrong way round??! Scott Buckle, who proofreads in the painting section, has also very kindly sent in corrections, noting typos, discrepancies and broken links. If you notice such slips, please do write in.

Correspondence: Thank you to Kim Embrey, an ex-student of our founder and late and original Editor-in-Chief, George Landow, for correcting a reference to the Illustrated London News on a page about the opium trade. It's been a whole year now since George passed away (on 31 May 2023), but we feel his presence here on the website every single day, and hope he's smiling down on us as we continue his good work.

We were also pleased to hear from Tom Andrews of Toronto, with some extra information about the architects of Holy Trinity, Northwood, Hillingdon; and Hristo Boev, who wrote to say that a version of one of his articles on the website ("De-territorialisation and Re-territorialisation in Little Nell’s Death-bed Scene — Deconstructing Little Nell") will soon be published in print.


May 2024

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ay starts with some announcements: the first to come in is about the Pre-Raphaelite Society's visit to Madresfield Court, Malvern, in June. Availability is rather limited, so if you'd like to take advantage of this rare opportunity (and to find out more about it), do click now on the link above. Big news for our own project now: allow us to introduce Matthew Pontefract. A brilliant technological adviser, Matthew has kindly accepted the invitation to join our Foundation Board. Matthew is just the person we need to guide our long-established website into the future without sacrificing any of its distinctive features.

JB was very pleased to find new images of Thomas Woolner's Puck available on Art UK, and a self-portrait of the young Rossetti on the National Portrait Gallery's site (both helpful for illustrating new contributions). She also introduced a new section on Henry Clutton, associated with some of the biggest names in Victorian architecture. This prompted her to include two items about his spectacular Minley Manor (the second, to be fair, on the later Victorian work on it). She also added accounts of two other great country estates he worked on, Cliveden in Buckinghamshire and Shuttleworth House in Bedfordshire.

Diane Josefowicz, our Managing Editor, has continued her widespread updating of older documents, especially in the Ruskin section. Brief mentions like this do no justice to the time-consuming work involved.

Inspired by something much more recent, last month's spectacular solar eclipse, our history editor Dory Agazarian has added a new podcast to our list of recommended episodes, and discusses one in the Lost Women of Science series, in which Katie Hafner and Samia Bouzid remind us of how (in 1898!) the Irish-born astronomer Annie Maunder (1868-1947) captured an unprecedented photographic image — the longest coronal streamer that had ever been documented in the sky.

Meanwhile, back on earth, Philip Allingham, our Contributing Editor for Canada, has completed the updating his own much earlier work on Phiz's illustrations for Pickwick Papers, adding more recent insights, in (for example) this piece entitled From Caricatural Comedy to Antiquarian Realism in the Interpolated Tales," and an interesting note about the illustrator "Phiz" and his assistant, Robert Young. Philip's illustrations for the serialisation of Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, done by different hands, have now undergone the same treatment. Hubert von Herkomer's unflinching portrayal of Alec D'Urberville on his deathbed is all too memorable. The Hardy section has links to the revised list and three galleries (starting here) of these illustrations.

Also for Hardy enthusiasts, A. Banerjee spotted that the text of Hardy's short poem, "Neutral Tones," had been included here with questions for discussion, but no accompanying commentary. He duly provided one, which might also spark discussion — can we really take something positive away from it?

Once again, Dennis T. Lanigan has made an important contribution to the Pre-Raphaelite section, this time writing about the sculptors associated with the movement. He has extended his essay on the intriguing question, "What Is Pre-Raphaelite Sculpture?" (and answering it, too), providing new biographies of two of the sculptors associated with the movement — John Lucas Tupper and John Hancock. He has also revised and earlier entries on their work, and added new examples, such as Hancock's Penserosa in Mansion House. Wonderful additions.

Back in the architecture section, Shirley Nicholson worked with photos from our contributing photographer, John Salmon, to write about the Roman Catholic church of St Francis of Assisi in Notting Hill. It was one of the many churches that Henry Clutton designed, but its internal decoration was by J.F. Bentley, and this gave a taste of what was to come from this young architect, who was just setting out on the path that would lead to his major commission — the designing of Westminster Cathedral. Shirley went on to review Gordon Vowles's recent and very useful biography of Henry Clutton.

Most welcome too is Kenneth Lynn's appreciative review of George Edmund Street, the definitive work on this other important Victorian architect. The well-known and much-missed architectural historian Geoff Brandwood completed this book before his untimely death, and it was edited for publication Peter Howell and Peter C. W. Taylor.

A new contributor, Michael Gold, has also made a wonderful (and spooky!) addition to the website, this time to our genre section. Entitled "The Fiend Breaks Loose: 'Shadows,' Doubles and Demons in London-based Fiction of the Late Nineteenth-century," this is one of our full-length peer-reviewed articles, and it will be of great interest to scholars interested in Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde and Arthur Machen, and the later Victorian period generally. We hope for more contributions from this quarter.

Sarah Malton has kindly shared with us her perceptive review of Aviva Briefel's The Deceivers: Art Forgery and Identity in the Nineteenth Century, a brilliant addition to our new and growing crime and fraud section (did you not know that this was forgery's "golden age"?!). Such were the tentacles of this kind of fraud that Diane Josefowicz, who formatted this piece, found herself having to make links to several other sections.

We're delighted, as well, to see the French section on Tissot growing, with the addition of Lucy Paquette's "En vacances avec James Tissot et Kathleen Newton," translated by Sabrina Laurent. Sabrina's translations of commentaries on the paintings are now coming in too.

Thank you to Scott Buckle and Shirley Nicholson, who have both proofread much of this new work.

Correspondence: Many thanks to Chris Dawes who wrote in to correct and enlarge upon the image captions for 50 Glebe Place in London, with its associations with Charles Rennie Macintosh and Derwent Wood. Our correspondence led to a very interesting new commentary on the building. With his curiosity and perseverance, Chris may be our ideal reader! We also engaged in a very interesting correspondence about the provenance of this as yet uncatalogued bust of Angela Burdett-Coutts, to which Joanna Barnes of the PSSA (Public Statues and Sculpture Association) has contributed very helpfully. We have not reached a conclusion yet, so please do write in if you have any knowledge of it!


April 2024

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pril brought the very sad news, conveyed by our Senior Editor, Simon Cooke, that one of our contributors has passed away after a long illness. Professor Paul Goldman was the leading expert in the field of mid-Victorian illustration. For many years he was an Assistant Keeper of Prints at the British Museum and was widely published. His books on "The Sixties" re-established interest in the subject, and he also wrote some hundreds of articles and reviews, along with his contributions to our website (indeed, he had only just sent in a new review, of Betty Elzea's long-awaited biography of the artist Frederick Sandys), as well as catalogues for exhibitions and entries for reference books. In the latter part of his career he became an honorary professor at Cardiff University and taught courses in the history of the book at the University of London. Much admired, he will be much missed. It was kind of Simon to let us know, and to send in this brief obituary.

Turning, as we must, to the month's other contributions: the first of these were by Dennis T. Lanigan, who made some valuable additions to our coverage of the Pre-Raphaelite and Orientalist painter, Thomas Seddon, with discussions of such memorable works as The Great Sphinx at the Pyramids of Gizeh and A Halted Caravan on the Borders of the Egyptian Desert, as well as more details about Seddon's tragically short life. This led to the considerable expansion of our list of Orientalists — those artists who took on the challenge of travelling to the East, and presenting their interpretations of it to the public at home. Seddon, sadly, died in Cairo on his second visit there.

Working with Sarah Colegrave of Sarah Colegrave Fine Art, Dennis also added information and another Orientalist painting by John Fulleylove: Jerusalem – South Wall of the Temple Area, from the Valley of Hinnom, at Sunset. JB did a little to help the project by including two fine Orientalist portraits by Sir David Wilkie, one of Abd-ul-Mejid (1823-1861), Sultan of Turkey. Wilkie was as unlucky as Seddon: his burial at sea, on the return voyage, was movingly evoked by Turner (not a new contribution to our site, but it comes to mind here). Special thanks to Scott Buckle for proof-reading and making helpful comments on the whole section on Thomas Seddon, including the older work on the artist. We greatly welcome this kind of help.

Next, JB completed work on something entirely different: Birkenhead Park on the Wirral, the very first publicly-funded public park, and a splendid reminder of the genius of Joseph Paxton — also of the importance of Edward Kemp, the park superintendent and author of highly influential books about garden and park planning.

JB's later work this month included two projects inspired by Shirley Nicholson. The first was on the late-Victorian designer, W. J. Neatby. Shirley sent in photographs of a set of three watercolours by him. One, a vignette of a young woman with flowers in her hair, framed as if in a hand-held looking-glass, is particularly attractive, but all are intriguing and so much of their time. Another photograph followed, this time of a watercolour by the Devonshire artist, Frederick Widgery, and this led to a whole trail of work on this artist (quite new to us), his prolific father William (also new to us) and indeed our whole section on Devon. It's been the next best thing to taking a trip there!

Our Managing Editor, Diane Josefowicz, has been pitching in with improvements to our large Ruskin section, and has also brought in (reformatting it from James Heffernan's Review 19) Richard Sylvia's very substantial review of Trish Ferguson's Thomas Hardy's Legal Fictions. This makes a valuable addition to our new section on fraud, to which Sara Malton has now contributed, again via Diane, a useful and comprehensive bibliography. Diane also spent a good deal of time updating older work in the Hardy section.

Over in the illustrations section, Simon provided a fine introduction to the work of Georgina Bowers, to which he then added a shorter essay on her book-cover designs. This artist had a remarkable talent for depicting horses, as well as a great sense of humour, and a keen British eye for the weather — all these help to make both her illustrations and cover-designs very distinctive.

Our design section also benefitted when Simon forwarded some photographs of William Burges's furniture, kindly contributed by the Higgins Art Gallery and Museum, Bedford. JB enjoyed introducing these, especially the typically quirky Narcissus Wash Stand. More of these unique Burges items at the Higgins followed.

Revisions, new sharper scans and updates continue to come in from our Contributing Editor for Canada, Philip Allingham, who has turned back to an old favourite — Phiz, and his illustrations for the Pickwick Papers. Under individual illustrations are a number of notes of more general interest (duly cross-referenced so that they can be reached by readers from other parts of the website) such as this account of gasolier lighting. Philip, like Diane, has been working on the section on Thomas Hardy, especially on his short stories. Here, for example, he introduces "The Three Strangers".

Now for something much more up-to-date: our new series of recommended podcasts. Dory Agazarian, our history editor, has added a discussion of one of English Heritage's weekly podcasts, "How the Victorians Invented the Great British Beach Holiday." If you have time (it's only 31 minutes), you might be tempted to listen to it. This will tide you over until our own series starts!

Meanwhile, Shirley Nicholson (already mentioned above), visited and reviewed the new exhibition, Out Shopping: The dresses of Marion and Maud Sambourne (1880-1910), at Leighton House and Sambourne House. What wonderful reminders of a past era! This runs until 20 October 2024, and provides an extra incentive to visit both of these amazingly well-preserved and inviting houses. Later Shirley added an example of embroidery at the exhibition, a peacock-design cushion, so typical of its turn-of-the-century era. Shirley continues to proofread for us, her suggestions leading to a big improvement of our entry on Knightshayes and the nearby Lace Factory in Tiverton.

Another new item this month came from Margi Tucker DeTemple, Historic Preservation Officer of Harcum College, PA, and wife of the College's President, who wrote in about a stained glass window in her church by Henry Holiday: Christ Instructing the Disciples. What a pleasure to see this, especially at a time when Holiday's work in America is coming to prominence at last.

As usual, don't forget to check out the conference notifications and calls for papers: you might be inspired by the one just added by our editorial assistant, Nigel Finch, inviting submissions for a Special issue of Global Nineteenth-Century Studies.

Just out of interest, our site now has 131,048 documents and images, as against 127,464 documents and images this time last year. Many older images have been replaced with sharper scans (in the illustration section, thanks to Philip) or colour versions (in the paintings section, often thanks to Dennis Lanigan, as copyright restrictions have eased). Some tiny images which dated from the very earliest years of the website have simply been deleted.

Correspondence: In connection with last month's work by Philip, Dickens scholar Sean Grass has commented on Thomas Onwhyn's rendering of the Chancery Prisoner in Pickwick Papers, seeing it as a foreshadowing of a scene in Bleak House (see Sean's note on the commentary in question). Many thanks for that, and thanks too to Michael Riley from the Isle of Wight, for sending in an update on Ryde Pier, brilliantly restored and improved by the firm of Knights Brown. Andy Scott wrote in to point out that we credited a stained glass window to a different designer from the one cited in Wikipedia. Fortunately, the designer himself had written about the window in a periodical, so it was easy to show that our attribution was the correct one.

March 2024

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arch has blown in again, more like a mouse than a lion, but carrying with it the first hints of spring, more calls for papers and conference announcements (added by our editorial assistant, Nigel Finch), and a whole range of new work.

One phenomenon of Victorian life was the growth of the suburbs. JB takes a look at this in a short piece, "Dickens on the Margins: Exploring the New Suburbia." In that connection she also added some of Weedon Grossmith's brilliant illustrations to our existing introduction to The Diary of a Nobody. One illustration shows the suburban Pooters dancing with glee after receiving an invitation to the Lord Mayor's Ball — such an honour, but their pride will be dented when they find out who else has been asked! In the painting section, she added William Michael Rossetti's account of the Pre-Raphaelite artist James Collinson, and opened a new section for his contemporary, Robert Collinson, to accommodate an item originally found by George Landow: Ordered on Foreign Service. This could now be shown with its later, larger version. Robert Collinson's carte-de-visite, from the photographic studio of Cecil William Wood, provided more material for our now quite large photography section.

Something that would also have pleased George: JB came across and formatted a contemporary account of the opening of the branch railway line from Brighton to Lewes, complete with illustrations of the mighty Brighton (or London Road) Viaduct, a skew bridge over the turnpike to Lewes, etc. All done in 10 months! JB also added accounts of the line's engineer, John Urpeth Rastrick, and some of his other work, including the early, graceful Chepstow Bridge — as well as his huge granite monument, in the style of a railway turntable.

As usual, our Managing Editor Diane Josefowicz has been busy on site-wide matters, and Diane and our History Editor, Dory Agazarian, have worked together to compile their list of recommended Podcasts of Interest to Victorianists. Do have a look: we will be making our own soon, but this is a great start. Diane also added a review by Sara Malton, of Karin Koehler's Thomas Hardy and Victorian Communication: Letters, Telegrams and Postal Systems, which ties in so well with our other material in this area.

Via our Senior Editor, Simon Cooke, Ed Smith kindly sent in an obituary of William Philip Nimmo, to add to our knowledge of Scottish publishers — we already had a splendid example of the kind of books he published, but without any information about him. Simon himself is completing his work on the illustrator Georgina Bowers: we're looking forward to that!

Philip Allingham, our Contributing Editor from Canada, has finished his series of illustrations of Pickwick Papers by the less well-known illustrator Thomas Onwhyn, providing a biography (helped by the archival research of Graham D.C. Titley, who had, in turn, drawn on Philip's work — a pleasant example of scholarly collaboration). Philip then found a cache of new illustrations of the novel by Harry Furniss, supplementing those we already have. Some are very lively indeed — for example, here's Bob Sawyer having a high old time on a carriage roof! Philip is rescanning and adding new insights to his earlier material, some of it dating from almost the beginning of the website in the early twentieth century. Yes, we are ancient, and technology has improved by leaps and bounds during the last twenty or so years. Just look at the wonderful detail in this gathering, depicted by the illustrator Robert Barnes, in The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Further to last month's work on Frank Cadogan Cowper's early drawings, Scott Buckle sent in a brief biography of the artist, and this was followed by Dennis Lanigan's whole new series of essays on another unjustly neglected Pre-Raphaelite artist, James Collinson (yes, this is what drew JB to this part of the website). Much of James Collinson's work perfectly captures the social history of the period, including the great boom in the housing market: one of his most popular paintings was (and is) To Let. But this Collinson's paintings have a greater range than perhaps realised. Here for example is a soldier returning, blinded, from the Crimean War (Home Again); and here is a timeless etching, The Child Jesus.

One challenging task this month has been to improve the list of Pre-Raphaelite artists, acknowledging not only the main "Pre-Raphaelite sisters," but the many artists who went through important Pre-Raphaelite phases. Please take a look and see who might still be missing!

The latest article from the government-funded University of Victoria's Pregnancy Project is in too: Hilary Marland's Puerperal Insanity, a diagnosis still being made in the 1930s — having by then played its part in social change by dramatically challenging the Victorian ideal of "The Angel on the Hearth." This is the last of the fifteen articles in this funded project, but our general maternity section is, of course, always open to well-informed contributions, whether academic papers as such, or selected and annotated material from contemporary sources. All will be assessed (we have a robust peer-reviewing system).

Also enlightening, but in quite a different way, is Laurent Bury's latest review, this time of Patricia Smyth's Paul Delaroche: Painting and Popular Spectacle. The French artist's best known work is probably The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, which hangs in the National Gallery. This and other works, like The Christian Martyr (a forerunner of Millais's Ophelia), greatly influenced British art in the mid- to late-Victorian period.

Elsewhere, we now have Catriona Blaker's informative review of Gillian Grute's Heavenly Embroidery, with its spectacular illustrations of the work of the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus, a wonderful addition to our embroidery section.

Meanwhile, over in the French section.... We were delighted to receive Sabrina Laurent's translation of the artist James Tissot's detailed chronology. What an interesting life-story it reveals (thank you again, Lucy Paquette for the original!).


February 2024

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ebruary arrived with a rush of new notifications and submissions. Do check conferences and calls for papers, because the deadlines pass so quickly. Here's one on a topic most of us feel strongly about, one way or another: "The Museum will not be Decolonised" — and the deadline is at the end of this month. So don't miss the chance to have your say. Our Senior Editor, Simon Cooke, selected and reformatted for us two new contributions from the Pre-Raphaelite Society's journal: Rober Wilkes's "F. G. Stephens’s The Proposal: A Neglected Pre-Raphaelite Painting"; and "Three Early Drawings by Frank Cadogan Cowper," by Scott Thomas Buckle. Don't forget to check out the Society's page for upcoming talks (though this month's is already over!).

At the end of last month JB opened a new section on the architectural practice of Lanchester, Stewart and Rickards. We already had some of their landmark buildings, like the imposing Cardiff City Hall. This was to introduce and give space to a new contribution: Kenneth Lynn's very informative and enjoyable review of Timothy Brittain-Catlin's book, Edwin Rickards. JB also added a variety of new items needed to help illustrate all the new work added this month (see below). One example (with help from Scott Buckle) is Edward Burne-Jones's interesting early watercolour, Sidonia von Bork 1560. Later, she put online her own review of Clare Carlisle's enjoyable, widely praised book on The Marriage Question: George Eliot's Double Life. This led in turn to the creation of a small gallery of photos, paintings and illustrations of Eliot and her work.

Along with her contributions to the managing of the website, Diane Josefowicz has found time for a searching review of Gretchen Braun's Narrating Trauma: Victorian Novels and Modern Stress Disorders — a review which includes a spirited discussion of Gwendolen Harleth in George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. Diane also put online the latest contribution to the University of Victoria's Pregnancy and Childbirth project, Kristen Kalsem's article on the tragedy of Infanticide, considered from both legal and cultural perspectives. Next up, from Diane and our history editor Dory Agazarian working together, some news about podcasts... Coming shortly!

As a change from book design and illustration, our Senior Editor Simon Cooke contributed a really original and chilling essay on Sheridan Le Fanu's use of spooky sound effects — quite a challenge to write about and spooky to read, too! With the help of a budding photographer in the family, Timothy Cooke, he also sent in three very delightful Parian ware busts, of a rather grim Thackeray, Tennyson and an unusually sage-like Dickens. These were followed by a (generally!) enthusiastic review of the new show at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, "Radical Victorians: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement"(on now until 31 October 2024).

Hard at work as ever, our contributing editor in Canada, Philip Allingham, has very much enjoyed Robert L. Patten's Dickens, Death and Christmas, supplementing his review with a more detailed look at Patten's discussion of A Christmas Carol itself. Could there possibly be anything new to say about this seasonal staple? Apparently, there could! Philip followed this up with a few brief but very illuminating excerpts from Dickens, Death and Christmas, such as this one on the role of pantomime in The Cricket on the Hearth. Philip has also nearly finished a series on a new Dickens illustrator: Thomas Onwhyn. Dickens himself was not a fan, but that doesn't mean Onwhyn should be overlooked. Take a peek at this dramatic Pickwick frontispiece.

Meanwhile, lots happening in the painting section. Moving straight on from his authoritative study of the St John's Wood Clique, Dennis T. Lanigan has teamed up with fellow art historian, Scott Thomas Buckle: together they bring Ford Madox Brown's good friend, the artist William Cave Thomas, into the Pre-Raphaelite fold. Paintings like Eliezer offering the earring and bracelets to Rebekah show how much Thomas contributed to the movement, and how richly he deserves a place of his own in art history.

We are really lucky to have well-known art historians writing for us, introducing new artists, and reviewing books and exhibitions: Pamela Gerrish Nunn's latest is a review of another trail-blazing book, Discovering Women Sculptors, edited by Marjorie Trusted and Joanna Barnes.

Equally welcome are Shirley Nicholson's contributions. The first is a long overdue addition to our "Victorian master builders" section, on the well-known building magnate Sir Charles James Freake. Freake was the subject of a Vanity Fair caricature and a marvellous cartoon by Linley Sambourne in Punch. His was surely the ultimate story of the self-made man, elevated to a baronetcy without having lost his cockney accent (which, it is said, his higher class wife lovingly adopted). Shirley's next contribution was an account of the Punch cartoonist, Bernard Partridge, who exercised his talents on the stage as well as on the drawing board. It's such a pleasure to see the website growing with the inclusion of such characters. And more recently Shirley has written an entertaining piece about Punch's convivial "Mahogany Tree" (great wooden table), as drawn by Linley Sambourne, complete with dinner guests past and present, on the occasion of the magazine's Jubilee in 1891. The past attendees are represented by portraits and busts, by the way, not ghosts!

Also very welcome indeed are a series of new excerpts from the writings of Eneas Dallas. These were selected and largely (expertly) formatted by a new contributor, Graham Law, and range from a discussion of Florence Nightingale's ideas about nursing, to insights into George Eliot's Silas Marner. The variety of topics is simply amazing, as is the variety of publications to which Dallas contributed — indicating the flood of periodicals that appeared at this time (we hope to run a review of Graham's major scholarly study soon, on The Periodical Press Revolution: E. S. Dallas and the Nineteenth-Century British Media System).

We're delighted to say, too, that Sabrina Laurent has started translating a new section into French — on James Tissot. There are two essays so far, on his life and the collectors and dealers who bought his work (fascinating topic!). At present his work appears to be more popular in England than in France, and we hope this will help to inspire more interest in him among French readers.

Thanks as usual to Shirley Nicholson and Ray Dyer for their excellent proofreading services.


January 2024

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anuary brings a fresh start, and we wish everyone reading this a very happy and productive New Year.

Now the holiday is over, and the new tax season looms, you might like to check out our new donation and bequest information. All contributions gratefully received! They're tax deductible, and there are some great ways of helping us that you might not have thought of. We do want to update and improve the site, a project we're already exploring.

Even if you missed Margaret D. Stetz's Zoom presentation, “What’s New in the Goblin Marketplace?” on 9 January, do take a look at Dennis T. Lanigan's review of The Rossettis, the exhibition it accompanied. Thanks to our editorial assistant Nigel Finch, you can also check out some new conference notices. Don't delay: some of the calls for papers have deadlines coming up later this month.

An Illustrated London News account of the highly successful Royal Navy Exhibition of 1891 sent JB off to our small "British Navy" section. In fact we have far more material on the navy than was previously listed there — it just comes up under different headings: ships, armaments, wars and empire, for example, not to mention in the art and literature sections. So now we have a more extensive opening page, as well as a brief introduction to the Royal Navy's very important role in national life; a look at its various flags and the meanings behind them; and a discussion of Nelson and the Victorians — a big topic, and in some ways a tricky one. Tim Willasey-Wilsey kindly stepped in again here, with some useful comments and suggestions. In this connection, John Flaxman's monument to Nelson at St Paul's puts in an appearance at last. More contributions to this section would be very welcome.

Our Managing Editor, Diane Josefowicz, has continued to track down broken links and older work that needs updating, with some welcome help in the history section from the editor of that section, Dory Agazarian, who is also researching podcast possibilities for us. Exciting developments on the way!

Philip Allingham has now completed his project on Phiz's illustrations for Charles Lever's The O'Donoghue. As always with Phiz, they feature some memorable horses, though this one (the local doctor's shaggy Irish pony) is far from a gallant steed. Philip has joined in the big drive to refresh old links, root out old work with out-of-date formatting, etc.

Congratulations to our Contributing Editor from Poland, Andrzej Diniejko, who has now successfully completed his life of Lord Byron, the first to be published in Poland for sixty years. For those of us who don't speak Polish, and so can't enjoy the open-access edition, Andrzej has kindly written a splendidly wide-ranging piece in English on Byron's literary afterlife in the Victorian period.

Also from Poland comes news of a ambitious new book, Literary Appropriations of Myth and Legend in the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson, William Morris, Algernon Charles Swinburne and William Butler Yeats, by Ewa Młynarczyk (1982-2022). This was written as a doctoral thesis for the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw, but, very sadly, Ewa died before she was able to defend it. The Institute has now published it, and we give a few extracts from the Preface and Introduction here: "Myth and Legend in Victorian Poetry"; [George Eliot's] "Casaubon, the Scholar-Mythologist"; and "William Morris and the Old Norse Legends." You can get details of the book (also available as a free e-book) at the end of each extract. This material inspired us to open a new section on Myth and Legends, where it was soon joined by an excellent piece of collaborative research by Thibault André-Terramorsi, Léo Grattarola and Mary-Anne Stanek of the Université Bordeaux-Montaigne: "The Arthurian Revival as an Answer to a Changing World, written for Professor Béatrice Laurent's seminar, "Myths and Icons in Victorian Britain."

Meanwhile, Dennis Lanigan has brought his project on the St John's Wood Clique of painters to a triumphant conclusion with a thorough consideration of the last important figure, John Evan Hodgson. Prominent enough in his own time (he became a professor of painting at the Royal Academy), Hodgson should be much better remembered than he is. In one amusing example of his orientalist painting, for instance, he depicts Chinese Ladies Looking at European Curiosities.

More seriously, Michael Statham sent in some new archival material on the statue of Florence Nightingale atop a wing of the Cardiff Royal Infirmary — this is an exciting find, as the statue has been recorded as "untraced" in other sources, and Mike hopes to publicise it. Also rather a rare find, this time from a new contributor, Brian Butterly, is John Sliegh's illustration for Eliza Cook's melancholy poem, "Dead Leaves."

Thanks as ever to Shirley Nicholson, who has just proofread the whole section on the sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey. It is cheering to find how much can now be added to some of the early entries. Shirley herself contributed more material on his background and also the Chantrey Bequest, through which he continues to influence the art world today: Sir Francis Chantrey: From Norton to the Nation. Ray Dyer also kindly continues to proofread. Please send in your corrections, too, if you spot mistakes!



Last modified 22 May 2024