"Minor Topics: Mr. Ruskin." and "Minor Topics: Pre-Raffaelite Art in Oxford." Art Journal 20 (1 Feb. 1858), 62.

excerpts

Mr. Ruskin, in a letter to a Mr. Hunt, of Liverpool , referring to the recent "Art-squabble" there, thus expresses himself:–"Since Turner’s death, I consider that any average work from the hand of any of the four leaders of pre-Raffaellism (Rosetti [sic], Millais, Hunt, John Lewis) is, singly, worth at least three of any other pictures whatever by living painters." This is mere insanity: the writer will find no one person in all England, capable of judging, to adopt so grossly absurd an opinion–if, indeed, an opinion it really be. We protest, however, against the compulsory enlistment of John Lewis into the pre-Raffaellite band.

Pre-Raffaellite Art in Oxford.–Mr. Ruskin, the "Oxford Graduate," seems to have just cause to rejoice in the triumph of his doctrines in his Alma Mater, for we learn from the Builder that–"The new debating room for the Union at Oxford has been completed from the designs of Mr. Woodward; and several artists of the pre-Raffaellite school have undertaken to adorn its walls with paintings in distemper, on subjects from Arthurean romance. Some are already finished; others only begun. There are:–King Arthur receiving the Sword Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, by J. H. Pollen; Sir Palomides’s jealousy of Sir Tristram and the Fair Isulte, by W. Morris; Merlin allured into the Pit by the Lady of the Lake, by E. Jones; Nimüe bringing Sir Peleas to Ettarde after their quarrel, by V. Prinsep; Sir Launcelot asleep before the shrine of the Sangreal, by D. G. Rosetti [sic]; and the Corpse of Arthur conveyed by weeping Queens to Avalon, by Arthur Hughes. Mr. Pollen is, we believe, an amateur; but every one who has seen Oxford will recollect with pleasure his paintings on the roof of Merton Chapel. It is proposed to adorn the new Museum with similar decorations."


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Copyright © 1999 Thomas J. Tobin.

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