This post was pre written on 21st June, and left largely unedited whilst at the Evelina...
It may be far too early...but I am already thinking about pieces for the next Collection. As I was waiting for Riley to recover from his operation I wandered along the Embankment to Tate Britain. I haven't been to the Tate Britain in about 18 years, way back when it was just the Tate, and I was pretty stunned at the changes it has undergone. It has a flashy new ramp entrance, a café outside and I completely lost my bearings inside because I was entering the galleries from a completely new angle.
I used to visit the Tate almost every time I was in London when I was a student, way back when, and studying Fine Art. This time, looking at it from a fresh fashion perspective it was riveting. My main destination was my old favourites: the Pre-Raphealites, for whom I have all the time in the world to gaze at and enjoy purely for the pleasure of the image of beauty itself.
Sat at the top of the Evelina without the internet or book resources usually to hand I must wrack my brain about the Pre-Raphealites, and as I remember a fair few of them were womanising philanderers who coveted women they shouldn't have and discarded and abused the women that did love them. That wasn't the main focus of their art, there was huge importance on nature, and correctly rendering and making beautiful the world: they rejected the mechanical and contrived art of the Academy and favoured the more naturalistic art before the High Renaissance.
Rossetti Proserpine 1874
|Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse 1888, Tate Britain|
Check out their subject matter, in this iconic image from the Pre-Raphaelite era: The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse (1888) in which the subject matter is directly lifted from the LordTennyson (1833) poem of the same name in which the Lady of Shalott is cursed to weave a cloth of the events outside her window that she herself must not look upon, but observe only in the reflection of a mirror. If she goes outside she is doomed to die. Well, unlucky for her that a handsome knight Lancelott, going about his business, catches her attention so much so that she chooses to follow him, thereby giving herself over to a certain tragic death. All for lust and ardour. Mythic tales, Medieval fantasy and the subject of deadly ardour all rendered with wounded brush strokes, and I notice also that the fabrics are rich, sumptuous, flowing, draping and in lustrous jewel colours.
How curious, wounded and fearful her gaze is. Her woven tapestry half cast out of the boat, her life's work, as her life itself, forgotten in the moment. Prophecy is a bitch.
Hmmm, that is a great spring board for some of the concepts that didn't get to be realised for Countryphile, but actually now I think of it...don't belong there anyway.
It's funny how life can throw a curve ball at you, and it's easy to see in hindsight that it was all for the best after-all.