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I am in love with Millais.


You saw that coming, no? I mean, I am overdramatic, I love auburn hair to the point that my hair is ever so slightly redder by design, I like to sit in a cold bath and pretend I am Ophelia until I contract bronchitis.


I am also Ruskin’s wife! Yes, that is what gave it away, isn’t it?



And isn’t she glorious. Ah, Euphemia. I’d have called myself Effie, too.


My Swedish friend (hereafter, The Swede, she is a woman designed for the capital letter) and I ventured to the Tate Britain not once but twice (we were thwarted by tickets, a desire to eat salad, and immanent closing times) to see the Pre-Raphaelites. And there they were! Rooms of them, glittering and venturing into brave new worlds.



In such glory, dreams are spun. Surely. I grew up with the Lady of Shalott (I mean, not literally, we didn’t hang out in her funny we room whilst I described what Lancelot was doing down below), Circe and Ophelia (what a miserable boarding school dorm that would have made). As a Medievalist, Pre-Raphaelite depictions of Arthur and his knights are what people are trying to move away from, I suppose. Not me. Give me glossy hair, effeminate knights, and God’s glory glowing from the grail any day.

I would urge you to go – from a bed made by William Morris to the grotesqueries of Holman Hunt, everything is there in bright splendour.

I mean, so moral, so grim, so glorious.

And you can get lost in myths and verse and the sheer muscular glory of it all.

Millais again.


Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde

Tate Britain: Exhibition
12 September 2012 – 13 January 2013
£14, concessions available