Thoughts of the Past

Last updated
Thoughts of the Past
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope - Thoughts of the Past - Google Art Project.jpg
Artist John Roddam Spencer Stanhope
YearExhibited in 1859
Mediumoil on canvas
Dimensions86.4 cm× 50.8 cm(34.0 in× 20.0 in)
Location Tate Britain, London

Thoughts of the Past is an oil painting on canvas by English Pre-Raphaelite artist John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, first exhibited in 1859 and currently housed at Tate Britain.

Contents

History

Known as one of the "second-generation" of Pre-Raphaelites, Stanhope was among Dante Gabriel Rossetti's mural-painting party at the Oxford Union in 1857, together with Arthur Hughes, John Hungerford Pollen, Valentine Prinsep, Ned Burne-Jones and William Morris (nicknamed Topsy). He was a founder member of the Hogarth Club, a direct descendant of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. [1]

This painting, with his depiction of a prostitute remorsefully contemplating her life, showed a subject typical of the Victorian era. Works such as Thoughts of the Past and Rossetti's Found (1855) allowed the genteel gallery-going public to sympathise with societal problems - from a safe distance. It was pictures such as William Holman Hunt's The Awakening Conscience (1854), illustrating a married man and his mistress, which were regarded as threatening to Victorian family life. [2]

Stanhope painted Thoughts of the Past in a studio just above one owned by Rossetti. Although his model is recognisably Pre-Raphaelite, the background of his painting hints at his own individual, artistic style, which was yet to emerge. [3] The river, boats and bridge owe more to the conventional style of the art in the Royal Academy than to that of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.see image detail below

See also

Related Research Articles

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and art critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner who formed a seven-member "Brotherhood" modelled in part on the Nazarene movement. The Brotherhood was only ever a loose association and their principles were shared by other artists of the time, including Ford Madox Brown, Arthur Hughes and Marie Spartali Stillman. Later followers of the principles of the Brotherhood included Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and John William Waterhouse.

William Holman Hunt Pre-Raphaelite English artist (1827-1910)

William Holman Hunt was an English painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His paintings were notable for their great attention to detail, vivid colour, and elaborate symbolism. These features were influenced by the writings of John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, according to whom the world itself should be read as a system of visual signs. For Hunt it was the duty of the artist to reveal the correspondence between sign and fact. Of all the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Hunt remained most true to their ideals throughout his career. He was always keen to maximise the popular appeal and public visibility of his works.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti British poet, illustrator, painter and translator

Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti, generally known as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator, and a member of the Rossetti family. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. Rossetti was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.

Frederic George Stephens English art critic, in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1827-1907)

Frederic George Stephens was a British art critic, and one of the two 'non-artistic' members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope British artist (1829-1908)

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope is an English artist associated with Edward Burne-Jones and George Frederic Watts and often regarded as a second-wave pre-Raphaelite. His work is also studied within the context of Aestheticism and British Symbolism. As a painter, Stanhope worked in oil, watercolor, fresco, and mixed media. His subject matter was mythological, allegorical, biblical, and contemporary. Stanhope was born in Yorkshire, England, and died in Florence, Italy. He was the uncle and teacher of the painter Evelyn De Morgan.

<i>The Scapegoat</i> (painting) painting by William Holman Hunt

The Scapegoat (1854–1856) is a painting by William Holman Hunt which depicts the "scapegoat" described in the Book of Leviticus. On the Day of Atonement, a goat would have its horns wrapped with a red cloth – representing the sins of the community – and be driven off.

Hogarth Club British artists society

The Hogarth Club was an exhibition society of artists, based at 84 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London, UK, which existed between 1858 and 1861. It was founded by former members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood after the original PRB had been dissolved. It was envisaged that the club would provide an alternative meeting space and exhibition venue to overcome prejudice against the Pre-Raphaelites at the Royal Academy. Unlike the PRB, the Hogarth Club was established on a professional basis, with two classes of members, artistic and non-artistic, and a distinction between London-based "resident" and provincial "non-resident" members.

<i>The Awakening Conscience</i> painting

The Awakening Conscience (1853) is an oil-on-canvas painting by the English artist William Holman Hunt, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which depicts a young woman rising from her position in the lap of a man and gazing transfixed out of the window of a room.

<i>Desperate Romantics</i> television series

Desperate Romantics is a six-part television drama serial about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, first broadcast on BBC Two between 21 July and 25 August 2009.

Annie Miller British artists model

Annie Miller (1835–1925) was an English artists' model who, among others, sat for the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais. Her on-off relationship with Holman Hunt has been dramatised several times.

Oxford Union murals

The Oxford Union murals (1857–1859) are a series of mural decorations in the Oxford Union library building. The series was executed by a team of Pre-Raphaelite artists including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. The paintings depict scenes from Arthurian myth.

<i>Ecce Ancilla Domini</i> painting of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Ecce Ancilla Domini, or The Annunciation, is an oil painting by the English artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, first painted in 1850 and now in Tate Britain in London. The Latin title is a quotation from the Vulgate text of the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke, describing the Annunciation, where Mary accepts the message brought to her by the Angel Gabriel that she would give birth to a child (Jesus) by God.

<i>The Beloved</i> (Rossetti painting) painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Beloved is an oil painting on canvas by English artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, first painted in 1865 and now in Tate Britain.

<i>Pia de Tolomei</i> (Rossetti painting) painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Pia de' Tolomei is an oil painting on canvas by English artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted around 1868 and now in the Spencer Museum of Art, on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

<i>Proserpine</i> (Rossetti painting) 1874 painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Proserpine is an oil painting on canvas by English artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted in 1874 and now in Tate Britain.

<i>Paolo and Francesca da Rimini</i> watercolour by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Paolo and Francesca da Rimini is a watercolour by British artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted in 1855 and now in Tate Britain.

<i>Love and the Maiden</i> painting by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

Love and the Maiden is a tempera on canvas by English Pre-Raphaelite artist John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, executed in 1877 and currently housed at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

<i>Our English Coasts</i> painting by William Holman Hunt

Our English Coasts, also known as Strayed Sheep, is an oil-on-canvas painting by William Holman Hunt, completed in 1852. It has been held by the Tate Gallery since 1946, acquired through The Art Fund.

Victorian painting

Victorian painting refers to the distinctive styles of painting in the United Kingdom during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). Victoria's early reign was characterised by rapid industrial development and social and political change, which made the United Kingdom one of the most powerful and advanced nations in the world. Painting in the early years of her reign was dominated by the Royal Academy of Arts and by the theories of its first president, Joshua Reynolds. Reynolds and the academy were strongly influenced by the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael, and believed that it was the role of an artist to make the subject of their work appear as noble and idealised as possible. This had proved a successful approach for artists in the pre-industrial period, where the main subjects of artistic commissions were portraits of the nobility and military and historical scenes. By the time of Victoria's accession to the throne this approach was coming to be seen as stale and outdated. The rise of the wealthy middle class had changed the art market, and a generation who had grown up in an industrial age believed in the importance of accuracy and attention to detail, and that the role of art was to reflect the world, not to idealise it.

<i>The Girlhood of Mary Virgin</i> painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Girlhood of Mary Virgin is an 1849 oil on canvas painting by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, measuring 83.2 by 65.4 cm and now in the collection of Tate Britain, to which it was bequeathed in 1937 by Agnes Jekyll. It was his first completed oil painting and is signed "Dante Gabriele Rossetti P.R.B. 1849". He first exhibited it at the 'Free Exhibition' at the Hyde Park Corner Gallery.

References

Detail of left-side background (possibly the Thames docks in London) John Roddam Spencer Stanhope - Thoughts of the Past detail02.jpg
Detail of left-side background (possibly the Thames docks in London)
  1. A.M.W. Stirling, "The Life of Roddam Spencer Stanhope, Pre-Raphaelite, a Painter of Dreams," in A Painter of Dreams and Other Biographical Studies (London: Lane, 1916).
  2. T. Hilto, The Pre-Raphelites, Thames and Hudson (1970). Cf. also Elaine Shefer, "The 'Bird in the Cage' in the "History of Sexuality: Sir John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt," Journal of the History of Sexuality 1 (1991), p. 475, note 48.
  3. Elise Lawton Smith, Evelyn Pickering de Morgan and the Allegorical Body, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (2002).

Further reading