Pre-Raphaelites in The City: Television, Film, Radio, Drama

Dinah Roe

Pre-Raphaelite News Round-Up

Recent articles and items on the Pre-Raphaelites range from the predictable (Florence Welch described as ‘Pre-Raphaelite’) to the wildly original (Dimbola Museum’s ‘Best Bohemian Beard’ awards).

What emerges from these disparate approaches is the sense that its kaleidoscopic nature has helped keep Pre-Raphaelitism vital. Its refusal to remain in one category (fine arts, literature, music, decorative arts) means Pre-Raphaelitism continues to appeal to film-makers and fashion designers as much as art gallery visitors and poetry lovers.

And beard-fanciers. 

In the News
11 Feb 2012
The Times chooses Christina Rossetti sonnet for ‘Love Poems Everyone Should Know.’

15 Feb 2012
Jan Marsh: ‘Did Rossetti Really Need to Exhume His Wife?’ In TLS

20 Feb 2012
Pre-Raphaelite Works from 7 Liverpool art museums newly available on the ‘Your Paintings’ website. Get tagging!

9 March 2012
Islington Tribune appeals for funds to preserve Ford Madox Brown’s grave


Read More

Christina Rossetti on the Radio! Thursday 1 Dec, In Our Time, Radio 4

This coming Thursday’s broadcast of ‘In Our Time’ promises to feature ‘the life and work of the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti.’ I’m not sure who Melvyn Bragg’s guests will be, but let’s hope they give full credit to her technical skill and sophisticated metaphysics, rather than going down the well-trodden route of dismissing her religious commitment as dogmatic, self-hating and detrimental to her creativity. The blurb mentions that she was ‘best known for her ballads and religious poetry’. I do hope the programme will give full credit to her as a writer of sonnets. In my opinion, there is no superior Victorian master of the form. There is also the matter of Goblin Market, a poem which defies easy classification …

Read More

Christina Rossetti Spotted in Atlantic City ‘What Does the Bee Do?’ in Season 2 Episode 4 of ‘Boardwalk Empire’

Christina Rossetti’s children’s poem was recently recited in an October episode of the hit TV series, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ (Season 2, Episode 4). The episode’s title comes from her poem ‘What Does the Bee Do?’, published in her collection of children’s verse, ‘Sing-Song’. You may recall Margaret’s daughter Emily reciting it in the kitchen at the top of the TV program. Christina’s poem presents a traditional portrait of Victorian domestic economy, where Father brings home the money and Mother manages the household expenses:

What does the bee do?
  Bring home honey.
And what does Father do?
  Bring home money.
And what does Mother do?
  Lay out the money.
And what does baby do?
  Eat up the honey.

Click here to see Arthur Hughes’s original illustration for this poem.

Read More

Pre-Raphaelites in the City

Subscribe to the blog

This blog explores the thriving Victorian cities which inspired the Pre-Raphaelites, and were shaped by them in turn. While the Pre-Raphaelites produced poetry and art praising the natural world, most were born and raised in urban environments, and their work retained a cosmopolitan sensibility. Although this blog will sometimes take excursions into the countryside, its focus will remain on city life. If you want more information on images or sources, please get in touch.