Rarely seen Pre-Raphaelite works to be showcased in Northampton

‘The Pre Raphaelites and the Middlemores’ will showcase works by eminent Pre-Raphaelites William Holman Hunt and Sir Edward Burne Jones that were donated to the museum in 1947 by Evangeline Middlemore.

These will be complemented by works donated by Miss Middlemore and her father Sir John to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, including rarely seen pieces such as designs for the stained glass works Leif Erikson, Thorfinn Karlsefne and Gudrida by Edward Burne Jones. These designs are on loan from Birmingham Museums Trust and are thought never to have been exhibited before.

Also on show will be the Pygmalion series by Burne-Jones and rarely seen works by Holman Hunt including Gloria in Excelsis, a powder colour of the announcement of the birth of Christ to the shepherds, and studies for his epic work Triumph of the Innocents.

The exhibition provides an insight into the work of the famous artists whose art formed the Middlemore family’s collection, by including personal letters sent by Sir John by William Holman Hunt and letters from leading artists and critics to the collector.

A second exhibition running in tandem will explore the continuing influence of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood in the nineteenth and twentieth century.   This examines how the movement changed the way artists viewed their work with ‘Character, Landscape and Emotion’ and features artists including John William Inchbold, Thomas Cooper Gotch, George Frederick Watts and John Collier from the collection at Northampton Museum and the Alfred East Gallery, Kettering. 

Cllr Brandon Eldred, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, said:  “This is an amazing showcase for some of the fabulous Pre-Raphaelite works from our collection alongside some rarely seen pieces from other galleries.  The Pre-Raphaelites are really popular and we have brought together some great examples of the movement.”

Both exhibitions run from Saturday 14 September until Sunday 3 November and admission is free. Northampton Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and 2pm to 5pm on Sundays.