Burne-Jones & the Pre-Raphaelites
September 2017 | Tour Director: Suzanne Fagence Cooper
The bustling canal-lined centre of Birmingham, interspersed with Industrial Revolution era landmarks, so often harks back to its 18th century identity as a manufacturing powerhouse. However, our tour of this fascinating city and its surrounding areas will delight in the city’s late 19th century history, when it stood at the epicentre of the British Arts and Crafts movement.
Inspired by pioneering writers and designers such as John Ruskin and William Morris and drawing from its rich industrial heritage of jewellery-making and metal work, the city nurtured an array of small artistic workshops and painters.
One focus of our tour will be to examine the career of locally born artist Edward Burne- Jones, who studied at the Birmingham School of Art and by the 1880s had garnered international acclaim for his aesthetic style.
At Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery we will view one of the UK’s most important collections of paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of seven young friends led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt.
The artists admired the simplicity and classical forms of medieval Italian art before Raphael and rebelled against the conservative Victorian artistic traditions to create a wealth of unique paintings, drawings and prints.
We hope to include a special visit to the Print Room to view a selection of drawings not usually on display.
Just outside of the city we will view George Cadbury’s model village of Bournville, designed as an ideal community to accommodate the workers of Birmingham’s expanding Victorian industries, while the Arts and Crafts movement is represented further in the gardens of Hidcote Manor, an ingenious layout of outdoor ‘rooms’ created at the beginning of the 20th century, and at The Wilson – Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum – whose collection includes pieces by Liberty & Co and William Morris.
We conclude our tour with a visit to the spectacular Wightwick Manor and Gardens, a perfect example of architecture and interior furnishings heavily in uenced by the Arts and Crafts movement with original wallpapers and fabrics by Morris and a stunning collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. We stay throughout at the Crowne Plaza Birmingham City Centre, conveniently located close to New Street Station.
Suzanne Fagence Cooper, MA, FSA
Suzanne Fagence Cooper is a lecturer and historian who specialises in British art history. For 12 years, she was a curator and Research Fellow at the V&A Museum, working on major exhibitions and the British Galleries.