From 17 October 2019 until 26 January 2020, The National Portrait Gallery will stage the first ever major exhibition to focus on the untold story of the women in the Pre-Raphaelite art movement. As the centrepiece of NPG’s autumn season, ‘Pre-Raphaelite Sisters’ will surely be one of the blockbuster art events of the year. The exhibition explores the overlooked contribution of twelve women connected to the artistic movement in different ways. Featuring new discoveries and unseen works from public and private collections across the world, ‘Pre-Raphaelite Sisters’ reveals the women behind the pictures and their creative roles in the Pre-Raphaelites’ successive phases between 1850 and 1900.
Jan Marsh, the exhibition’s curator, declared: ‘When people think of Pre-Raphaelitism they think of beautiful women with lustrous hair and loose gowns gazing soulfully from the picture frame or in dramatic scenes painted in glowing colours. Far from passive mannequins, as members of an immensely creative social circle, these women actively helped form the Pre-Raphaelite movement as we know it. It is time to acknowledge their agency and explore their contributions.’
Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, originally published in 1985, was written by curator Jan Marsh and is therefore the perfect companion piece for visitors to the NPG keen to know more on the subject. Upon its original publication it was hailed by The Times as ‘required reading for all future historians of the movement’, and it remains the key text on the subject over thirty years later. Quartet will republish this iconic work with a new afterword written by Marsh especially for this edition. Jan Marsh is a British writer and curator who is an expert on the Victorian period and particularly the Pre-Raphaelites and William Morris. Marsh is president of the William Morris Society, a trustee of the William Morris Gallery and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.