Two significant artists were missing from my recent Pre-Raphaelite Sisters exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Omitted owing to an already over-crowded cast-list, their absence was especially regretted as these two were literal not metaphorical sisters.
Half-sisters, to be precise. Lucy and Catherine were daughters of Ford Madox Brown, the doyen or daddy of the PRB, who declined to join the band because of its juvenile title, but who provided close support to the Pre-Raphaelite aims.
And so I am especially delighted that they feature in dual perspective in the
And so I am especially delighted that they feature in dual perspective in theUncommon Power exhibition at the Watts Gallery Compton opening on 26 September.
Cathy’s companion portraits of her parents deserve wider circulation, although only that of her father is included in the exhibition. She perhaps had more natural artistic talent, endowing portraits and contemporary genre scenes with visual interest and harmonies, yet more conventional subject choices. The child puzzling over the sum 9+6 on her slate in A Deep Problem (1875, BMAG) combines charm, observation and empathy. At The Opera (1869) is a stunning take on the usually formulaic half-length female with decorative accessories. Was Marie Spartali the model?