Archive for the ‘Aestheticism’ Category

Interiors as works of art

April 11, 2011

Rossetti's bedroom at Cheyne Walk, by Henry Treffry Dunn (1839-1899), at Wightwick Manor. ©NTPL/John Hammond

One of the paintings at Wightwick Manor, in Wolverhampton, has just gone on loan to the exhibition The Cult of Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It is a depiction by Henry Treffrey Dunn of the bedroom of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted as if seen in a convex mirror.

Dunn’s painting has been used to recreate the bedroom in the V&A exhibtion. Rossetti was one of the artists who played a major role in the Aesthetic Movement. In his house on Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, he deliberately blurred the boundaries between art and life.

The fireplace in the Oak Room at Wightwick. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Wightwick Manor still contains original interiors that were heavily influenced by the Aesthetic Movement. The rooms have the same mixture of antique furniture, metalwork and ceramics that Rossetti helped to make fashionable.

Head of a young woman, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). ©NTPL/John Hammond

There is also a collection of pre-Raphaelite art at Wightwick, including works by Rossetti himself.

The Hall Alcove at Wightwick. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Many of the textiles in the house are by Morris & Co, similar examples of which are also shown at the V&A.

©NTPL/Paul Raeside

Wightwick was built by the Victorian industrialist Theodore Mander and was given to the National Trust by his son Sir Geoffrey Mander in 1937.

The Dunn painting is illustrated in an article by the curator of the V&A exhibition, Stephen Calloway, in the May 2011 edition of The World of Interiors. The Cult of Beauty exhibition also features in the March/April 2011 edition of Selvedge.

From tomorrow I shall be on holiday for a week.