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In the last twenty-five years Symbolism has been much investigated, but British artists have usually been accorded a marginal role in the movement. It has always been assumed that Symbolism was essentially a continental phenomenon, having only slight links with what happened in Great Britain in the late nineteenth century. This exhibition revises that view by focusing on key British artists, some of whom predate their continental colleagues in dealing with the characteristic themes of Symbolism. These were, above all, Death, Sleep, and the erotic impulse. Sometimes the Europeans were a decade or more behind their British counterparts, who provided important precedents for their innovations. It has been overlooked that both Watts and Burne-Jones exhibited in Paris to critical acclaim, that the young Picasso admired Burne-Jones, and the leading Belgian Symbolist, Fernand Khnopff, wrote articles for the London art magazine ‘The Studio’. There was in fact a far greater exchange of ideas between British and continental artists than might at first be imagined.

Over one hundred and thirty paintings, drawings and sculptures are included in the exhibition – created by artists including Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Watts, Whistler, Beardsley, Moreau and Khnopff.

Exhibition categories: 19th Century, British, Symbolism

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Represented artists: Robert Bateman, Aubrey Vincent Beardsley, Arnold Böcklin, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Walter Crane, Evelyn Pickering De Morgan, Henri Fantin-Latour, Louis Welden Hawkins, Ferdinand Hodler, Fernand Khnopff, Gustav Klimt, Frederic Lord Leighton, Margaret Macdonald, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Frances MacNair, Sir John Everett Millais, Albert Moore, Gustave Moreau, Gaetano Previati, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Odilon Redon, Sir William Blake Richmond, Charles De Sousy Ricketts, Frederick Cayley Robinson, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Anthony Frederick Sandys, Simeon Solomon, Henry John Stock, Jan Toorop, Elihu Vedder, George Frederic Watts, James McNeill Whistler


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