Tuesday 18 September 2012

dolce fa niente*

'It is sweet to do nothing',
is not the motto I'd choose for the Pre-Raphaelites.
Would it be churlish of me to admit that their industry exhausts me?
Tiles, embroideries, bed hangings and counterpanes, screens, 
huge tapestries, sculptures, painted furniture, book illustrations,
wallpaper and fabric design, poetry, calligraphy,
stained glass, paintings full of shimmering,
glowing, painstaking detail.
Nothing escaped their attentions.

Yes, I've just come back from the Tate exhibition
and feel quite feeble.
How did they do it all?
And have time for affairs?
And die young?

For a more mature appraisal of all things
Pre-Raph do look here.

* William Holman Hunt


  1. Gosh, that review puts us to shame! I did feel feeble by the end ... never enough seats at the Tate!
    How do you think it compared to the 1984 exhibition? I thought the last one had more wow but maybe that's because I was younger and seeing some of them for the first time.

  2. Pull yourself together, woman, and get on with the feather-dusting!

  3. The contrast between your quiet sea side views and those at the Tate must have been remarkable. What fun for your eyes and memory-making facilities!

    I remember seeing a large Pre-Raphaelite exhibit at the Tate during my first London visit way back in the mid-1970's, and also was able to see the 1984 exhibit. Yes, sometimes their over the top-ness can be exhausting, but how I would love to see this current show.

    The painting you show is a real beauty!

  4. I enjoy YOUR appraisals of everything, thank you!

  5. Exhausting aren't they! I feel your pain.