The Pre-Raphaelites are best known for their figure and religious paintings but they also produced some of the finest landscapes of the 19th century. I look at the landscape background in the famous paintings such as The Blind Girl and The Hireling Shepherd then I go on to look at those Pre-Raphaelite artists who painted mainly landscape such as John Brett, John Inchbold, William Boyce, John Bunney and Thomas Seddon. The images take us from Scotland, through England, France, Switzerland and Italy to the Holy Land. I look at Ruskin’s influence as well as that of photography and science.
I also discuss the importance of John Ruskin as a watercolourist and his role in encouraging and financing younger artists as well as his position as one of the first conservationists. The watercolours of William Boyce often depict wonderful old vernacular buildings in the English countryside and I consider how the Pre-Raphaelite landscape painters began to arouse interest in vernacular architecture which led to the formation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings – SPAB.
I discuss William Dyce’s ‘Pegwell Bay’ to explore the influence of Darwinism and geological research on landscape painting.