For all Pre-Raphaelite fans England is an obvious pilgrimage site. But United States has also something great to offer.
Delaware Art Museum in the city of Wilmington has long boasted the largest and most significant collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the United States and on of the finest and the largest Pre-Raphaelite Art collection outside Britain. It consists of over 150 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, decorative arts, and illustrated books.
Want a little sneak-peak?
1. Julia Margaret Cameron, Lancelot and Guinevere
Julia Margaret Cameron, a wife and mother, at 49 started to photograph under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites. She was encouraged by her friend, the poet Alfred Tennyson, to take photos illustrating his poems. Here we see the moment in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King when Lancelot presents a diamond necklace he has won in a tournament to Queen Guinevere.
2. Marie Spartali Stillman, Love’s Messenger
Marie Spartali Stillman was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter of Greek descent, arguably the greatest female artist of that movement. The subject of this painting does not appear to be based on any specific text. Stillman worked in mixed media—gouache (watercolor mixed with opaque pigment), gum Arabic (a binding agent), pastel, and chalk.
3. Frederick Sandys, May Margaret
Although not an original member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Frederick Sandys shared the group’s predilection for red-haired women. The model for May Margaret may be Sandys’ common law wife, Mary, or her sister, Millie.
4. Edward Burne-Jones, The Council Chamber
The Council Chamber represents the second scene in the Briar Rose series, a project that occupied Burne-Jones for more than 30 years. The series was based on the story of “Sleeping Beauty,” retold during the Victorian period by Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) in his poem “The Day-Dream.”
5. Edward Burne-Jones, The Prioress’s Tale
“The Prioress’ Tale” recounts the gruesome murder of a young boy. His throat was slit while singing the Virgin Mary’s praises. His voice was miraculously restored when the Virgin placed a grain of corn on his tongue.
6. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Veronica Veronese
There are accompanying lines inscribed on the frame: “Suddenly leaning forward, the Lady Veronica rapidly wrote the first notes on the virgin page. Then she took the bow of the violin to make her dream reality; but before commencing to play the instrument hanging from her hand, she remained quiet a few moments, listening to the inspiring bird, while her left hand strayed over the strings searching for the supreme melody, still elusive. It was the marriage of the voices of nature and the soul—the dawn of a mystic creation.”
7. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, La Bella Mano
Rossetti wrote the sonnet entitled “La Bella Mano” a year after creating the painting, suggesting the visual representation may have been the inspiration for the poem. The painting represents a personification of love—Venus, with earthly and divine attributes.
8. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lady Lilith
Lilith is described in Judaic literature as the first wife of Adam. She is associated with the seduction of men and the murder of children. The depiction of women as powerful and evil temptresses was prevalent in 19th-century painting, particularly among the Pre-Raphaelites.