AN exhibition of work exploring Scottish links to the Pre-Raphaelites opened at the University of Dundee’s Lamb Gallery last weekend, running until September 10.
The ‘Noel Paton and the Pre-Raphaelites: Scottish Collections and Connections‘ exhibition features rarely seen works by Pre-Raphaelite artists, or artists connected to, or influenced by, the movement.
It features material from the Noel Paton Archive recently acquired by Fife Council Museums which has never previously been exhibited in public, from Dundee Art Galleries and Museums, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Perth Museum and Art Gallery, the Royal Scottish Academy, the St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum and the University’s own collections.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in 1848 by painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt.
They were later joined by other artists and writers, and many others became influenced by their ideas although they were not formal members of the Brotherhood.
The Pre-Raphaelites reacted against the formal, academic style of art popularised by the establishment at the time and demanded a return to the art of the early Renaissance, before the work of Raphael, which emphasised truthfulness in subject and treatment.
As a formal group, the Pre-Raphaelites only existed for a few years, but their influence in art and literature was considerable.
Many Scottish artists drew on their ideas, and examples of their work is also included in the exhibition – particularly that of Dunfermline-born Sir Joseph Noel Paton (1821-1901). Paton was a close friend of Millais, and was invited to join the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Although Paton declined he continued to be guided by their ideas.
University museum curator Matthew Jarron explained: “The Pre-Raphaelite influence on Noel Paton’s work is immediately recognisable – even his famous fairy paintings have a wealth of naturalistic detail that was grounded in Pre-Raphaelite ideas.”
The exhibition is free of charge.