Pre-Raphaelite Sisters, National Portrait Gallery - ★★★★★ - Until January 26, 2020

Ophelia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was also a sisterhood! The stories of twelve fascinating women are told in this delightful exhibition. The National Portrait Gallery's presently somewhat awkward display space is used beautifully in this show which offers a fascinating look into the male-female partnerships that were central to the success of the group's most prominent members. The women were models, muses, mistresses, supportive wives and often artists in their own right. The exhibition reveals how the creation of art is a complex collaboration and brings to light some of the neglected women who contributed to the Pre-Raphaelite movement's success. We have all heard of Christina Rossetti, but now we learn about Joanna Wells, Marie Spartali Stillman and Evelyn de Morgan. These artists produced some quite wonderful work and it is a joy to have an opportunity to see some of it. Indeed, almost a quarter of the work shown here is from private collections and much has not been previously on public display. The exhibition also presents the artists inspirations – Annie Miller, Fanny Cornforth and the fascinating Jamaican born model Fanny Eaton. Also here are the stories of Georgiana Burne-Jones, Jane Morris, Effie Millais, Elizabeth Siddal and Maria Zambaco. The fact that this exhibition highlights not just the art of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, but also the stories of these women is one of its great strengths. This is an invitation into a complex and fascinating world. Anyone interested in art should rush to accept it!

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until January 26, 2020
Sat - Thu: 10 am - 6 pm, Fri: 10 am - 9 pm
Wolfson and Lerner Galleries, National Portrait Gallery
Nearest station: Leicester Square

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