Pre-Raphaelite Influence

“Joan of Arc” by Dante Gabriel Rosetti 1882

I’ve been wanting to make some Pre-Raphaelite influenced images for some time. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) was a group of artists, poets, art critics and one writer, which was founded in London in 1848 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, but soon growing to seven members.

They opposed the style of painting that was fashionable at the time and brought a new romanticism into their work, inspired by religion and by medieval tales of chivalry, love and death. Working within these principles, they painted their subjects with a new style, which romanticised their subjects and which the writer John Ruskin referred to as “like early Italian art”. Although the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood only lasted for a few years, its influence was enormous and long-lasting.

Millais became President of the Royal Academy and Rosetti became mentor to a group of artists, including William Morris, who founded the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Preparing for the shoot

A Pre-Raphaelite model typically had pale skin, long wavy red or brown hair and generous full lips. Once I found my model, Alaine, we set about organising the shoot and finding some medieval looking props. Alaine provided a white dress, I bought a floral head-dress and I already had a cloak and some jewellery. Beforehand, a very kind friend lent me his replica Excalibur sword and I set about making a white lace top and waist sash. On the morning of the shoot I also made another head-dress and posy with fresh ivy and ferns from the garden. I had previously sent Alaine some mood boards, including some location shots, so she knew what I was wanting.

On the day

We were ready and we were both excited!

Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks of beautiful weather, when the day arrived, it was raining cats and dogs and prevented us from doing any shooting outdoors. Consequently, everything was shot in my living room…all within two hours. The close up portraits were taken with one softbox and one reflector. The standing images were taken with two studio lights and one reflector.

I’ve put some examples here, including some montages that I have made since the shoot (hopefully, more still to come), but there were so many lovely images that I found it hard to choose my favourites…Alaine was brilliant and I very much hope to work with her again.

Gallery

© Christine Widdall