John Brett Pre-Raphaelite Landscape Painter Christiana Payne, Charles Brett

Publication date:
15 Jun 2010
Paul Mellon Centre
304 pages: 279 x 241mm
150 b-w + 120 color illus.
Sales territories:


Drawing on a wealth of unpublished sketchbooks, journals, and writings, this essential guide to John Brett (1831–1902) investigates the painter who was seen as the leader of the Pre-Raphaelite landscape school. In addition to exploring the familiar early works, including The Val d'Aosta and Stonebreaker, it provides rich information on his later, less-known coastal and marine paintings. Brett’s turbulent friendship with John Ruskin is discussed, as are his relations with his beloved sister, Rosa, and his partner Mary, with whom he had seven children. His fervent interest in astronomy, his love of the sea, and his lifelong pursuit of wealth and recognition are all examined in this reassessment, which concludes with a catalogue raisonné of his works, prepared by his descendent Charles Brett.

Christiana Payne is a Reader in the History of Art at Oxford Brookes University. She coedited Prospects for the Nation: Recent Essays in British Landscape, 1750–1880.

"Payne’s instructive and fascinating book draws on a multitude of sources from unpublished sketchbooks to journals and personal writings, at the same time investigating the painter himself." -Richard Edmonds, Birmingham Post (Review)

"Dr Payne brings this extraordinary, infuriating man to life, both as a human being and as an artist." -Simon Poe, Country Life

"Christiana Payne has performed a notable service to art by producing this volume, an excellent foundation for both scholars and collectors." -Paul Johnson, Literary Review

"The multi-talented but long forgotten pre-Raphaelite artist is brought compellingly to life in this beautifully illustrated book." -Country Life