Art history, among other histories, is being rewritten from a feminist perspective, for better and, sometimes, for worse. In Women Artists and the Pre-Raphaelite Movement, Jan Marsh and Pamela Gerrish Nunn develop the themes of their earlier individual books, The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood and Victorian Women Artists, respectively. Their worthy aim is to rescue a number of women artists from the oblivion to which art history has so far relegated them. As the authors point out, the conventional account of the Pre-Raphaelite movement ‘asserts that women were the subjects of art and not its producers’. Until recently they have been portrayed as models, wives and mistresses.
In this volume, brief biographies of some twenty women artists associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement prove that women were indeed producers of art, from painting to book illustration, metalwork and stained glass, and including the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, founded in 1848 by seven men, by definition excluded women, but while some feminist writers have accused the PRB of complete chauvinism, particularly in their attitudes to their models, these authors show a different aspect. In its attempt at liberation from the rigid academic standards of Victorian