The Pre-Raphaelites and Science John Holmes

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
26 Jun 2018
ISBN:
9780300232066
Imprint:
Paul Mellon Centre BA
Dimensions:
320 pages: 279 x 216mm
Illustrations:
170 color + b-w illus.

This revelatory book traces how the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their close associates put scientific principles into practice across their painting, poetry, sculpture, and architecture. In their manifesto, The Germ, the Pre-Raphaelites committed themselves to creating a new kind of art modeled on science, in which precise observation could lead to discoveries about nature and humanity. In Oxford and London, Victorian scientists and Pre-Raphaelite artists worked together to design and decorate natural history museums as temples to God’s creation. At the same time, journals like Nature and the Fortnightly Review combined natural science with Pre-Raphaelite art theory and poetry to find meaning and coherence within a worldview turned upside down by Darwin’s theory of evolution. Offering reinterpretations of well-known works by John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, and William Morris, this major revaluation of the popular Victorian movement also considers less-familiar artists who were no less central to the Pre-Raphaelite project. These include William Michael Rossetti, Walter Deverell, James Collinson, John and Rosa Brett, John Lucas Tupper, and the O’Shea brothers, along with the architects Benjamin Woodward and Alfred Waterhouse.
 

John Holmes is professor of Victorian literature and culture, University of Birmingham.