Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy.

Is a new exhibition on at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. My Dad really wanted to go so I took both parents to it today. It was a good excuse to have a snoop around the newly refurbished Ashmole as well.
Now my parents don't like to come into the city for some reason, too many people etc I guess. So it really is something for them to make their way into Oxford at all. We met at 12 and headed straight there. I was a bit shocked at the price of the exhibition but I guess they have to start paying for the refurb, or maybe the insurance on the pictures they had borrowed to exhibit!

First impressions were not good when the woman at the ticket desk who served us was less than helpful. Having checked the concessions board carefully, only the usual OAP, student etc applied. I jokingly said something about it not being right, there being no discount for university staff and she didn't even bother to reply so the woman next to her said 'but there is'
I said 'excuse me?'
and she said again'but there IS a staff discount'
so I said 'really?'
and the woman serving me then snapped 'of course, you should have asked'
When I pointed out that it is not written in the price concessions list she snapped 'it's here, on this side of the board' pointing at the back of the price chart which I can't see because it is fixed to the desk in front of her!!
She then sent us to the top floor at wrong end of the gallery so we had to pretty much come back down and start again to find our way to the exhibition.
Why oh why do people who clearly hate other people get jobs dealing with the public??

Once we finally got in to the exhibition it was well worth it. Back in the mists of time when I was a fresh faced young art student I had to study the Pre-Raphaelites for one term in Art History. I developed a love for the work of Edward Burne-Jones so it was just fantastic to see his sketches and preliminary pictures for the mosaics for the American Church in Rome.

I was also very taken with Ruskin's architectural drawings of Venice and Verona. I guess I always have him filed away as an art critic rather than a skilled artist in his own right. I loved that he drew like I do, intense detail in one bit and then you realise you have run out of time so the rest is quickly scribbled in! Ok well that is how I draw and some of his pictures had that feel.

There were a lot of pictures by lesser known artists who came slightly later and were in their turn influenced by the PRB, as the PRB had been influenced by Raphael et al.
Still can't warm to D. G Rossetti, just don't really like his style and there was a W. Holman Hunt that looked exactly like Rupert Everett in a frock, most disturbing!


  1. I'm ashamed to say I've not been to the museum since the refurb - this exhibition is tempting, though. Sorry you got crappy service - its unforgivable really.

    R.Everett in a frock? Have you seen him as Miss Fritton in St Trinians? Yes, disturbing. Brilliant too!

  2. Great post. I used to be obsessed with the Pre-Raphaelites when I was a student. But now I am just obsessed with bad customer service! Which you seem to have received in abundance. What a cocker she truly was! *GRR GRR GRR*

  3. I do seem to have the knack of finding them! the woman at the police station last week was a total charmer as well. lol

  4. Hello lovely, I have nominated you for a blog award - have a look at my most recent post for details xx

  5. Thank you for the nomination, I only just noticed. I feel all flustered and embarrassed now.