A Pre-Raphaelite Circle
Pauline Trevelyan, friend and patroness of so many in the Pre-Raphaelite circle, played an important part in the lives of Ruskin and Swinburne in the 1850s and 1860s. Some mischievous biographers have even claimed that Swinburne fell in love with her.
For long she has been an intriguing, not to say mysterious, figure to those interested in the artistic and literary life of the period. She spotted Swinburne as a potential genius when he was still a schoolboy; as scandal enveloped him she did not flinch from speaking out frankly. The daughter of a poor and learned parson, she was married to Sir Walter Calverley Trevelyan, twenty years her senior, a strange, tall, taciturn landowner-cum-scientist, and her opposite in character. Herself an artist, writer and critic, she commissioned important works from Rossetti, Woolner and others. From her immense correspondence, scarcely examined before this book was published, we learn much more about John Ruskin.
Ruskin’s marriage in particular has always attracted great attention. It was feared, however, that the secrets surrounding its breakdown would never be fully known. Then a candid letter from Ruskin to a friend was suddenly unearthed. This so excited historians that this new edition of A Pre-Raphaelite Circle was published to include the letter in full, with all its revelations, making this important book a crucial work of reference for those interested in Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites who surrounded Lady Trevelyan.
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