Pre-Raphaelite Sisters: Making Art Conference 1/2

Proud to announce I will be representing Jane Morris at the Pre-Raphaelite Sisters: Making Art Conference. To be held at the University of York on 12-13 December 2019, in conjunction with the exhibition Pre-Raphaelite Sisters at the National Portrait Gallery (from 17 October till 26 January 2020, London).

The exhibition explores the overlooked contribution of twelve women important to the iconic artistic movement Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Featuring new discoveries and unseen works from public and private collections across the world, this show reveals the women behind the pictures and their creative roles in Pre-Raphaelite’s successive phases between 1850 and 1900.

‘The pilgrims of Siena’ by Paolo Lombardi, albumen cabinet card, 1881
From the museum archives © National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG x6955

According to the two-day Conference this contribution demands recognition. It will explore the roles played and diverse contributions made by women to the creation of Pre-Raphaelite art.

Glenda Youde: ‘We are delighted to inform you that we would like you to present a short piece on (or as) Jane Morris as an introduction to our open discussion session on the afternoon of Friday 13th December. The session will be aimed at The Future for the Pre-Raphaelite Sisters, and your innovative approach is just what we are looking for.’

With a short video I will be answering the question: ‘We are particularly interested in how you as an artist have interpreted the way in which you resemble Jane Morris as art.’

Keynote speakers are Dr Jan Marsh (Art Historian and Curator, National Portrait Gallery, London) and Kirsty Stonell Walker (Author, Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang). Opening remarks by Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn.

Jane Morris (née Burden) by John Robert Parsons,
copied by Emery Walker Ltd, bromide print, July 1865.
From the museum archives © National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG x199254

 

Centenary of Jane Morris’s death

The concept of the current travelling exhibition (now at the William Morris Gallery until 4 January 2015) is perfectly in line with my own exhibition ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’. Opposite to the room I occupied a few months earlier yet another room is filled with ‘images of Jane as herself’. Photographs, drawings and paintings are juxtaposed with Jane’s embroidery and handwriting. The exhibition offers insight in the relation between Jane as herself and Jane as a muse.

The exhibition illustrates that Jane Morris was multitalented, more than just a pretty face. During the opening speech Jan Marsh surprised the William Morris Gallery by donating, on behalf of Frank Sharp, a book with a cover designed by Jane Morris.
Another recently aquired item is the embroidery ‘Honeysuckle’, designed by William Morris and embroideried by Jane and Jenny Morris. Photographer India-Roper Evans noticed me while I was admiring it and she made some photos of the exhibition.

Rossetti's Obsession

Image 1 of 5


After the private view of the exhibition Kirsty Walker accompanied me to visit Kelmscott Manor. They currently exhibit the Centenary Exhibition; photographs that were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery earlier this year. At Jane Morris’ grave I have paid my homage to Jane even though she lives on in my mind… You can read Kirsty’s review of our trip here.

A Memory Palace of Her Own at William Morris Gallery 2/2

Photographs from my series ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’ are exhibited at the William Morris Gallery from 11 January to 9 March 2014. I am proud to be part of the programme commemorating the centenary of Jane Morris’s death on 26th January 1914.

Exhibition flyer, design by Ben Faydherbe

On His Doorstep, Margje Bijl 2011

A New Pattern for the Empress, Margje Bijl 2011

The private view of my exhibition was held on 9 January. Myself I presented the audience with a sound piece and created a drawing while it played.

Live drawing during private view
at William Morris Gallery
(photo Sebastiaan Veldhuisen)

The private view included a Q&A with the author Kirsty Walker who wrote this review. Jan Marsh delivered a short speech on how Jane Morris continues to inspire and pleasantly surprised me by the title ‘Jane’s avatar’.

Q&A with Kirsty Walker during private view
at William Morris Gallery
(photo Sebastiaan Veldhuisen)

The centenary programme includes several exhibitions and lectures. During the opening week of my exhibition I saw ‘Janey Morris: Pre-Raphaelite Muse’ at the National Portrait Gallery.
The Lady Lever Art Gallery explores the role of Jane Morris as Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s chief muse and the embodiment of Pre-Raphaelite beauty. The exhibition ‘Rossetti’s Obsession: Images of Jane Morris’ will later travel to the William Morris Gallery.

‘Janey Morris: Pre-Raphaelite Muse’
at National Portrait Gallery

A Memory Palace of Her Own at William Morris Gallery 1/2

Photographs from my series ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’ will be exhibited at the William Morris Gallery from 11 January to 9 March 2014.

Excerpt from an email I received from the curator of the William Morris Gallery, Carien Kremer: ‘We would like to offer you a slot in our 2014 programme, showing the photographs in the Discovery Lounge…It would be great to mark the commemorative year with a contemporary take on Jane’.

What are you proposing to display?
A series of four self-portraits. I visited several of Rossetti, Jane and William Morris’ former homes and took staged photos on location with the photographer Hein van Liempd. Referring to Jane Morris’ life story I transformed her world into my own, adopting contemporary clothing and poses.

On his Doorstep, Margje Bijl, 2011
(photograph by Hein van Liempd)

How is your work relevant to the William Morris Gallery?
The William Morris Gallery is one of William Morris’ two former homes included in my series ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’. The other, Red House, was designed exclusively by William Morris and Philip Webb, who collaborated in the design of the ‘Green Dining Room’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum which is also shown in my series.

I cannot Love You, Margje Bijl, 2011
(photograph by Hein van Liempd)

Preparing for the Guests, Margje Bijl, 2011
(photograph by Hein van Liempd)

Are there parallels with the collection?
I took photos at Rossetti’s studio, as this is the location of the famous photo series of Jane Morris which was the incentive for my own project. In the archives of the William Morris Gallery I have studied the reproductions of this series. There, I also enjoyed the privilege of reading Jane’s letters. I have incorporated her handwriting in my photo of the Red House.

A New Pattern for the Empress, Margje Bijl, 2011
(photograph by Hein van Liempd)

Why is it of interest to our visitors?
In the course of my trips to London and Oxford I have seen many inspiring works of art and artefacts from various museums, archives and from one depot. In my work, I often refer to these objects or quote from the many works on the Pre-Raphaelites. As an artist, it is my hope that my personal viewpoint will supplement the existing works of art and artefacts in the William Morris Gallery to contribute to Jane and William Morris and Rossetti’s cultural heritage.