Ruskin, Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelites
William Michael Rossetti
, British, 1829 - 1919
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
, British, 1828 - 1882
, British, 1819 - 1900
Ballantyne, Hanson & Co
George Allen (publisher)
Material and Medium: book, cloth bound
Dimensions: Overall (when closed): 195 x 147 x 38mm
Accession Number: CGSG03919
This book cover is decorated in a style associated with the Aesthetic movement of art, which flourished in the late 1800s. Designers and artists of the aesthetic movement celebrated the ideal of 'art for art's sake', which opposed the alternative Victorian idea that art and design should have a moral, narrative or spiritual purpose.
Works in the Aesthetic style are generally ostentatious and colourful with blowsy flowers and showy creatures. At first sight, the simpler style here is different. Nevertheless its floral motif is not a natural study; instead its abstract but curvaceous appearance re-imagines floral form. Refining or redefining nature is another idea associated with Aestheticism. In addition, symbols such as the monograms included here became a key feature of Aesthetic movement.
This cover dates from the end of the Aesthetic movement. The elongated and swirling form of the flowers looks ahead also to the next creative art movement: Art Nouveau.