Lady Trevelyan and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood by John Batchelor - review by Frances Spalding

Frances Spalding

Angel of the North East

Lady Trevelyan and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood


Chatto & Windus 320pp £30 order from our bookshop

In 1855, a journalist, surveying the growing prosperity of the North East, noticed a preference among the Newcastle and Sunderland people for champagne and claret, whereas interest in the fine arts seemed to be dead and buried. Ironically, this same year Pauline Trevelyan conceived of a major decorative scheme for the central hall at Wallington, in Northumberland. This vast cycle was to narrate and celebrate the history of the area (from the building of Hadrian's Wall to the development of Tyneside's industries); to be a showcase for the Pre-Raphaelite style; and to uphold the teachings of her close friend, John Ruskin. It achieved all this and more, for it prompted decorative schemes elsewhere, notably Ford Madox Brown's record of the history of Manchester on the walls of its Town Hall.

Surprisingly, Pauline Trevelyan's name has appeared very little in the now extensive literature on the Pre-Raphaelites. One reason for this is that her diaries have only very recently come to light. John Batchelor is the first scholar to make use of them. They blend into his narrative in

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