John Brett


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Pre-Raphaelite Landscape Painter

Christiana Payne

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Drawing on a wealth of unpublished sketchbooks, journals, and writings, this essential guide to John Brett (1831–1902) investigates the painter who was seen as the leader of the Pre-Raphaelite landscape school. In addition to exploring the familiar early works, including The Val d'Aosta and Stonebreaker, it provides rich information on his later, less-known coastal and marine paintings. Brett’s turbulent friendship with John Ruskin is discussed, as are his relations with his beloved sister, Rosa, and his partner Mary, with whom he had seven children. His fervent interest in astronomy, his love of the sea, and his lifelong pursuit of wealth and recognition are all examined in this reassessment, which concludes with a catalogue raisonné of his works, prepared by his descendent Charles Brett.

Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Christiana Payne is a Reader in the History of Art at Oxford Brookes University. She coedited Prospects for the Nation: Recent Essays in British Landscape, 1750–1880.

'Payne's instructive and fascinating book draws on a multitude of sources from unpublished sketchbooks to journals and personal writings, at the same time investigating the painter himself.' — Richard Edmonds, Birmingham Post (Review)

'Dr Payne brings this extraordinary, infuriating man to life, both as a human being and as an artist.' — Simon Poe, Country Life

"Christiana Payne has performed a notable service to art by producing this volume, an excellent foundation for both scholars and collectors."—Paul Johnson, Literary Review

"The multi-talented but long forgotten pre-Raphaelite artist is brought compellingly to life in this beautifully illustrated book."—Country Life

“For the firs time, this publication offers a complete overview of his entire body of work, and is an impressive consolidation of many years of thorough investigation….Beautifully illustrated.”—Ruth Brimacombe, The Victorian

"The work of Victorian painter John Brett is very appealing. . . . Brett long has been in need of the kind of scholarly reassessment presented here. . . . This is an attractive and valuable addition to the literature on 19th-century British art. Highly recommended."—W. S. Rodner, Choice

". . . realised in such detail, with such meticulous scholarly attention and high production values that a subsequent survey of the same territory would be quite redundant. . . . Like the best examples of Victorian studies do at this point in time, Christiana Payne’s book enhances our knowledge of that dense and fascinating period, which in her hands seem to be both mysterious and obvious, still relevant, significant and thought-provoking."—Pamela Gerrish Nunn, Britain and the World
ISBN: 9780300165753
Publication Date: September 21, 2010
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
304 pages, 9.5 x 11
150 b/w + 120 color illus.
Prospects for the Nation

Recent Essays in British Landscape, 1750-1880

Edited by Michael Rosenthal, Christiana Payne, and Scott Wi

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