Press Release: The Pre-Raphaelite Tragedy

The Pre-Raphaelite Tragedy

William Gaunt

Lush, colourful and unquestionably beautiful, Pre-Raphaelite works are much loved today. Yet on their release these paintings – and the artists who created them – were reviled as immoral and dangerous. Artist, writer and art historian William Gaunt had a particular passion for Victorian art, and his biography of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood is informative, entertaining and widely acknowledged as the most authoritative on the subject.

This new Folio Society edition of Gaunt’s art history classic is lavishly illustrated including colour images of 16 of the most significant pieces of Pre-Raphaelite art, as well as many black and white integrated images and photographs of the artists and their circle. The exquisite art silk cover features an image of Pia de’ Tolomei, Rossetti’s painting of Jane Morris, William Morris’s wife – with whom he was having an affair. The Arming and Departure of the Knights, the tapestry designed by Edward Burne-Jones and woven by Morris & Co, appears as a stunning double-page spread.

Brimming with the author’s extensive knowledge of art and art theory, The Pre-Raphaelite Tragedy introduces all the key players – Dante Gabriel
Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, among others – and delves into all the intimate dramas and revelations of their lives. From the initial flurry of revolutionary zeal to the increasingly complex web of cliques, love triangles and feuds, Gaunt underpins these vivid events with a fascinating and clear-sighted discussion of the Brotherhood’s philosophies, passions and theories.

Taking in, as Gaunt describes it, ‘drug addiction … psychopathology, a shadowy conflict with the devil, a soap advertisement and an abortive attempt at political revolution’, The Pre-Raphaelite Tragedy is art history at its most engrossing and its most human.

Product information

Bound in cloth. Set in Horley Old Style with Goudy Forum display. 296 pages. Frontispiece and 16 pages of colour plates. 20 black & white integrated illustrations. Blocked slipcase. 9″ x 61/4″.

UK £39.95 US $64.95 Can $82.95 Aus $82.95






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