Rare artworks by Pre-Raphaelite artist Gabriel Rossetti to go on display at Wightwick Manor

Art lovers can indulge in the early drawings of Pre-Raphaelite artist Gabriel Rossetti by visiting the National Trust’s Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton 

Wightwick Manor
The exterior view of Wightwick Manor and Gardens in Wolverhampton

A collection of early drawings by Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti will go on display for the first time in a new exhibition at the National Trust’s Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton from Monday 04 March 2019.

‘Rossetti – Pre the Pre-Raphaelites’ will feature 30 drawings, most of which have never been on public display before, drawn by a young Rossetti between the ages of 16 and 20 (1844-1848) while receiving his art education.

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Visitors will have a rare opportunity to see Rossetti’s developing interests and skills in the years before he founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 alongside William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.

The selection of pictures reflect Rossetti’s experimentation with various artistic mediums such as charcoal and pen-and-ink. The subject matter offers a fascinating insight into the pre-occupations of his teenage mind – ranging from popular culture of the time and influences from literature, including Shakespeare and Goethe, to the supernatural and bizarre.

Hermia and Helena (from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1846

Helen Bratt-Wyton, the National Trust’s house and collections manager at Wightwick Manor, said:

“Here is Rossetti the teenager – an artist on the cusp of what would become an astonishing career. It’s fascinating to have this glimpse into his style before he became an internationally renowned artist and to be able to better understand his development and influences.”

A total of 52 early Rossetti drawings were acquired by the National Trust which originally belonged to Alexander Munro, the sculptor and close friend of Rossetti. They were given to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax upon the death of Munro’s granddaughter, Mrs Katherine MacDonald, and allocated to Wightwick Manor by the Arts Council in early 2018.

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The Mander family, who owned and built Wightwick Manor, were keen collectors of Pre-Raphaelite art from the 1930s onwards. Many later Rossetti pictures and objects now form part of the house’s permanent collection.

The exhibition ‘Rossetti – Pre the Pre-Raphaelites’ will be on display in the Daisy Room in Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton, from Monday 04 March to December 2019. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wightwick-manor-and-gardens for more information.

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