The Delaware Art Museum presents Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London, an exhibition of 60 of the most important paintings from the Victorian period, encompassing the full range of subject matter and style, on view February 1, 2009 – April 12, 2009.
The Delaware Art Museum presents Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London, an exhibition of 60 of the most important paintings from the Victorian period, encompassing the full range of subject matter and style, on view February 1, 2009 – April 12, 2009. The paintings were acquired by Thomas Holloway and installed in the women’s college he founded in 1879, which is still in operation today as Royal Holloway, University of London. Equating beauty with morality, Holloway believed art could be a teaching tool. He bought only the best paintings, with an established provenance, and paid the highest prices at auction.
The collection includes scenes of contemporary life, historical events, landscapes, animal studies, and marine subjects. Artists represented include, among others, Sir Edwin Landseer, William Powell Frith, and Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir John Everett Millais. Until now, the majority of the 60 canvases had never been exhibited outside of England.
“Thomas Holloway’s collection, assembled over three intensive years of buying only the finest examples of Victorian art, forms a unique, ‘time-capsule’ view of this crucial moment in British history,” said Margaretta Frederick, curator at the Delaware Art Museum. “The broad range of subjects reinforces the notion that ‘the sun never set on the British Empire’ during this period.”
Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London will complement the Delaware Art Museum’s Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art, which is the largest Pre-Raphaelite collection in the world outside the United Kingdom. The Royal Holloway Collection opens a window to the environment in which the Pre-Raphaelites lived and worked and allows visitors to see the Pre-Raphaelites alongside the best of their contemporaries.
Samuel Bancroft, Jr. (1840-1915), a Wilmington textile mill owner, was “shocked with delight” upon viewing his first Pre-Raphaelite painting in 1880, and he began assembling his collection with the purchase of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Water Willow in 1890. Bancroft’s family bequeathed his Pre-Raphaelite holdings to the Delaware Art Museum in 1935. The Bancroft Collection is particularly strong in the late works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, which depict beautiful, seductive women, often called “stunners,” as well as works representative of the Arts & Crafts Movement.
Thomas Holloway (1800-1883) made his fortune in patent medicines. After he began a public debate on “How best to spend a quarter of a million or more,” his wife Jane suggested he start a college for women. He founded Royal Holloway College in 1879, and it was opened by Queen Victoria in 1886. Royal Holloway and Bedford College were admitted as Schools of the University of London in 1900, and both Royal Holloway and Bedford admitted male students for the first time in 1965. Royal Holloway, University of London continues to provide a home to the Royal Holloway Collection.
Members of the press are invited to preview Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London on Thursday, January 29, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Delaware Art Museum. Curator Margaretta Frederick will lead a tour and answer questions. Please RSVP to Dennis Lawson, Manager of Public Relations, by Monday, January 26.
Programs & Events
· Victorian Preview Jubilee
Saturday, January 31, 2009 | 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
$60 Members / $75 Non-Members / $85 after January 29 / $100 Patrons
(Patron price includes a private tour at 5:00 p.m. with curator Margaretta Frederick)
The trumpets sound…the people cheer…the galleries fill! Join us to celebrate the opening of Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London with dinner stations, live music, and good cheer (cash bar). To RSVP, call 302-351-8513 or visit www.delart.org. The evening’s schedule is below:
o 5:00 p.m. Private Patron tour with curator Margaretta Frederick
o 6:00 p.m. Passed hors d’oeuvres and exhibition viewing
o 7:00 p.m. Remarks by Gerret Copeland, Chairman of the Board, Delaware Art Museum; Matt Denn, Lieutenant Governor, State of Delaware; and Oliver St. Clair Franklin OBE, Honorary British Consul in Philadelphia
o 7:30 p.m. Dinner stations open
· Popular Paintings, Celebrity Artists: Back to the Future with the Victorians (lecture)
Saturday, February 21 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. | Free with Museum admission
Headline-grabbing auction prices and art stars are not distinct features of today’s art world. Publicity and celebrity began to colonize the art market in the Victorian period, when Thomas Holloway created the collection now featured in Paintings from the Reign of Victoria. This lecture by Laurel Bradley, Director of Exhibitions at Carleton College, MN, will introduce artists from Edwin Landseer to John Everett Millais, exploring how the evolving culture of celebrity impacted careers and reputations. In addition, this presentation will follow the fortunes of key artworks as values rose and fell with changing tastes and market conditions.
· Victorian Book Club
First Thursdays beginning in February | 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
$35 Members / $45 Non-Members for all 3 sessions (includes admission and refreshments)
Book Club selections available in the Museum Store (10% discount for participants)
Participants will read historical fiction focusing on the Victorian era, followed by an in-depth look at works of art in the special exhibition Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London. Registration required. To register, call 302-351-8509 or visit www.delart.org.
o February 5: Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard
o March 5: The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason
o April 2: Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
· Victorian Film Series
Second Sundays beginning in February | 1:30 p.m. | Free
Come to the Museum on Second Sundays for a relaxing (and free) afternoon of art and film!
o February 8: Vanity Fair (2004)
o March 8: Oliver Twist (2005)
o April 12: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
· Victorian Arts & Entertainment Family Fun Day
Sunday, March 1 | noon – 3:00 p.m. | Free | All ages
Travel back in time to Victorian England with make-and-take art projects and Victorian entertainment inspired by the Delaware Art Museum’s special exhibition Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London. This family event will feature Professor Horn’s traditional and popular English puppet show, Punch & Judy, as well as Victorian music from The Ardensingers of Arden, DE.
· Unlacing the Victorian Woman
Friday, March 6 | 6:30 p.m. | Free
Participants will delight in this educational and entertaining program! Presented by Barbara Meyer Darlin, who combines her skills as a designer, seamstress, historian, and performer, “Unlacing the Victorian Woman” enchants audiences by revealing a day in the life of a fashionable turn-of-the-20th-century society woman—with on-stage costume changes, right down to her chemise. (Audience members can volunteer to help with costume changes.) Daily routines, social customs, and etiquette are also discussed.
· An Afternoon with Jane Austen
Saturday, March 14 | 2:00 p.m. | $12 Museum Members / $20 Non-Members
Perfect for Women’s History Month, this program features songs about which Jane Austen wrote in her notebook along with readings from her novels. Performers include Julianne Baird (soprano), Karen Flint (harpsichord), and Edward Mauger (narrator).
Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.
The national tour has been supported by The Chisholm Foundation, and the catalogue sponsor is Hiscox.
This exhibition is presented in Delaware by DuPont and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Additional support is provided by the Emily du Pont Memorial Exhibition Fund and the Hallie Tybout Exhibition Fund.
In Delaware, this exhibition is made possible, in part, by grants from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
Delaware Art Museum