Occasional Pleasures from the Lloyd Webber / Pre-Raphaelite Exhibition

Part 7 of Opinion, Value & Taste series

Quality amid Chaos – Occasional Pleasures from the Lloyd Webber/Pre-Raphaelite Exhibition

Now don’t get me wrong. The exhibition wasn’t all bad by any means and there were certainly some impressive images, particularly those accompanied by a strong social narrative. I recall being drawn to The Village Wedding by Luke Fildes and First Class – The Meeting by Abraham Solomon but, overall, I found it a bit limp. There were shades, dare I say it, of Kinkade but perhaps in an ugly world the majority respond most to a pretty picture. The most arresting image of all was the painting by Richard Dadd who displayed an amazingly fertile imagination in his portrayal of Contradiction – Oberon and Titania. Here I can unreservedly say I doffed my cap because Dadd was an exceptional talent. Tragically, his imagination encouraged profoundly negative influences too. Delusional, he murdered his own father as a young man and spent most of his life confined to a lunatic asylum.

The other aspect of this exhibition that deserves a mention was the creative output by the Pre-Raphaelite movement beyond paintings. There was, for example, a profusion of de Morgan pottery, Pugin furniture and wonderful books and manuscripts from the Kelmscott Press and elsewhere. Yet this art was very much regarded as a footnote to the main story and herein lies an important point. A work of art, in its purest sense, is perceived by most people as an item that hangs on a wall. It excludes, therefore, the immense variety of endeavours that exercise the creative mind in other fields. The title of the aforementioned exhibition did not refer to Pre-Raphaelite Treasures, as perhaps it should, and thus there was almost an element of surprise on the face of some visitors that an art exhibition might contain something other than pictures.

For those interested, the article source.

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