Florence + The Machine, The Band Perry and the Lady of Shalott in Music Videos

Today I thought I’d share a video from Florence + The Machine. My husband actually made me sit down and watch the video because he noticed all the mythological and Pre-Raphaelite references! We first encountered Florence + The Machine while watching the Colbert Report, and our first reaction (other than noticing that she had a great voice), was that she looked like she’d fallen out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting. Apparently this is no coincidence, and you’ll notice that most of her videos contain references to the Pre-Raphaelites, though the video for “Rabbit Heart” is one of the most overt. From the minute you see the water behind her you can tell this is going to end in a send-up of the Lady of Shalott!

For an even heavier dose of the Lady of Shalott, check out The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young”. My daughter actually discovered this one on Vevo the other day!

Someone from the band is clearly a big fan of the Pre-Raphaelites! Of course Lady of Shalott is the most obvious reference (the video actually closes with a shot of Tennyson’s poem), but I thought the scene at :38 (with the mother at the window) was a little evocative of John Everett Millais’ Mariana. It’s a very well done video, and the song is beautiful as well.

The Poetry of Drawing: Pre-Raphaelite Designs, Studies and Watercolours

Those of you living in the UK (or visiting) are in for a real treat this month. From January 29, 2011 to May 15, 2011, The Birmingham Museum is hosting what promises to be “the largest survey of Pre-Raphaelite drawings and watercoulours ever staged.” The museum has assembled works Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s world-class collections, together with important pieces from public and private lenders, including some works by D.G. Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and Edward Burne-Jones that have never previously been exhibited. The exhibit, entitled The Poetry of Drawing, will place special emphasis on the important role that drawing played in the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

The Poetry of Drawing will include pieces from the most prominent members of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, including all the original members of the PRB, Elizabeth Siddal, Edward Burne-Jones, Frederick Sandys and Simeon Solomon. Later artists, such as Aubrey Beardsley, who were influenced by the Brotherhood are also included, as are the Arts and Crafts contributions of William Morris, William de Morgan and Florence Camm.

For those of you who are unable to attend, the exhibition’s curator has created an illustrated volume entitled Pre-Raphaelite Drawing. The book will be published by Thames and Hudson. I would love to see this exhibit in person, but if I don’t get the chance, I will definitely be looking into the catalogue!

For more information and ticket prices, please visit the Birmingham Museum’s exhibition website.

Image above is William Morris’ sketch for his Trellis wallpaper design.

Rare Millais Sketches Found in Led Zeppelin Record Sleeves

Former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is one of the world’s best known collectors of Pre-Raphaelite art. But he nearly lost a handsome stash of sketches by John Everett Millais as the result of what appears to be an auction house mix-up. 

Apparently, four drawings by Millais were found tucked inside Led Zeppelin records that were due to be put up for auction. Interestingly, the records were actually owned by Rick Hobbs, who had worked for the band for a number of years. Originally, the auction house had believed that the sketches were a gift from Page to Hobbs, but the auction house was uncertain enough to withhold the items from the auction. 

Fortunately for art fans, the sketches have been well-preserved within the LP covers, and they are undamaged. Millais made the drawings in 1843 when he was just 14 years old and a student at the Royal Acadamy. Two of the sketches were inspired by the poetry of Robert Burns. One depicts a scene in Venice were a gondolier is singing to a lady from beneath a window, accompanied by a verse from Farewell Thou Stream “The music of thy voice I heard/Nor wist while it enslav’d me!/I saw thine eyes, yet nothing fear’d/Til fears no more had sav’d me!

Amazing that the sketches remained hidden in those LP covers all these years!

The Rejection of Cain’s Sacrifice

I’ve been very busy with my little girl over the past few weeks. She’s an absolute delight! Even though she’s only three months old, I’ve been having a lot of fun reading with her. Before she was born, my husband and I bought a copy of Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories. It has fantastic pictures that really capture her interest (and the stories are short, so she doesn’t have trouble staying focused). At any rate, the other day I read her the story of Cain and Abel. Yikes! It’s easy to forget how gory some of these stories were! I was sort of glad that she was too little to have any idea what it was about. Nevertheless, I found myself trying to explain to my infant why people do mean things, though I had a bit tougher time telling her why God was not that impressed with Cain’s vegetarian sacrifice. Welcome to motherhood, I suppose! What happens when she can actually ask questions?

Anyway, today I came across this 1842 sketch by John Millais of the Rejection of Cain’s Sacrifice. Millais was just 13 years old when he produced this! Even at this early age, you can see the talent Millais possessed. I love how he’s drawn Cain’s cloak blowing in the wind and the smoke billowing up towards heaven (notice the pious looking Abel in the background). You can see a lot more of the details in the painting if you visit it at the Birmingham Art Gallery’s online gallery. Be sure to check it out!

Victorian Art on Display at Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Brigham Young University Museum of Art is currently hosting an exhibit of Victorian-era artworks from the Royal Holloway collection entitled Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London . Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais’ 1878 painting The Two Princes Edward and Richard in the Tower, 1483 (shown above) is among the works on display.

The exhibition will run from August 14-October 24, 2009, and is a must see for anyone in the area. Admission to the exhibit is free of charge. You can even organize a free docent-led tour of the exhibit by calling the Museum Education Department at 801-422-1140. You can also check out Brigham Young University Museum of Art’s sepcial Royal Holloway exhibit website for more background information on the event. (It’s a great resource, especially if you aren’t able to make it to the exhibit).

image courtesy Wikimedia commons.