The Cult of Beauty at the V & A

The Blue Silk Dress by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868)
I learned today that in April 2011 the V & A will be hosting the first ever major exhibition devoted to the "Aesthetic Movement" of the late 19th Century - including a large section devoted to the Pre-Raphaelites.  The exhibition will run until July 2011.  It looks at the artists who placed "beauty" above everything else.  The show will bring together 300 objects, including 60 paintings, to celebrate the British movement that flourished between 1860 and 1900 including works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Edward Burne Jones.

This emerging interest in the Pre-Raphaelites is very good news for our musical POSSESSED, which tells the story of the love triangle between Jane and William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti during the Aesthetic period.

Stephen Calloway who is the co-curator of the exhibition says that "In times of austerity fantasy always seems to be the thing, but I think it's particularly interesting at the moment because people, I suspect, are becoming rather tired of ugliness and things which are not well made and art that isn't well drawn".   I think he must be remembering William Morris's words "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful".

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Joseph Millson) and Jane Morris (Anna Francolini) at Kelmscott Manor,  in a scene from POSSESSED (Oxford Playhouse)


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