The Legend of King Arthur: A Pre-Raphaelite Love Story
Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth, Cornwall 17/06/2023 – 30/09/2023
Major new touring exhibition tracing the stories of Arthurian legend and the Pre-Raphaelite artists opens at Falmouth Art Gallery
• Part of a major touring exhibition, Falmouth Art Gallery to tell the story of the links between Arthurian legend and the Pre-Raphaelites • Brings the entire Lady of Shalott series of paintings by John William Waterhouse together for the first time ever • Eton College chapel artwork moved for the first time in over 100 years
Falmouth Art Gallery will be home to a major touring exhibition this summer telling the story for the first time of the links between Arthurian legend and the Pre-Raphaelite artists – giving an exclusive opportunity to see the entire Lady of Shalott series of paintings by John William Waterhouse together for the first time.
The Legend of King Arthur: A Pre-Raphaelite Love Story – described by The Times as ‘a swoon of a show’ - traces the legend of King Arthur across the county, drawing together over 60 iconic works of art from public and private lenders around the UK and beyond.
Having travelled extensively for first two legs of the tour, the final stage of the exhibition sees it reside in Cornwall – long-known for its connections to the legend of King Arthur, from 17 June – 30 September.
Falmouth Art Gallery has secured the entire Lady of Shalott series of paintings by English painter John William Waterhouse as a major part of the exhibition. Painted over a twenty-year period, these have never been exhibited together in the UK, providing an exclusive and unique opportunity to see them all together in Cornwall. Oil studies, drawings and sketchbooks from the series and Waterhouse’s personal copy of ‘Tennyson’s Poems’ with drawings and annotations will also be displayed.
Morwenna Lewis, director of Falmouth Art Gallery, said: “The Gallery team are thrilled to be bringing this long-awaited swoon of a show to Cornwall. It is bigger than anything the Gallery has put on before, and promises to be an indulgence for the senses, capturing the quintessential spirit of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and delighting locals and visitors alike.”
Cornwall is home to a number of key sites linked to the legend of King Arthur including Arthur’s birthplace and castle, and Merlin’s cave at Tintagel, the battle site between King Arthur and Mordred, the site of the Lady of the Lake, the location of Excalibur at Loe Bar and the Tristan stone in Fowey.
The exhibition is part of a year-long touring exhibition at three renowned British public museums - the William Morris Gallery in London, Tullie House in Carlisle and Falmouth Art Gallery in Cornwall were selected for their connection to the stories of King Arthur, with each stage of the tour tweaked to tell the stories of their particular region.
Falmouth Art Gallery will be exhibiting work by Pre-Raphaelite artists such as William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and John William Waterhouse amongst many others. The exhibition will also feature the work of Pre-Raphaelite female artists including Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, Emma Sandys and Elizabeth Siddal.
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