A Victorian Hall Of Fame At Harrogate's Mercer Gallery

By Caroline Lewis | 26 April 2008
Sepia photo of two Victorian men

Ruskin and Rossetti. © GF Watts Gallery

Exhibition preview: Victorian Artists in Photographs – The World of GF Watts, at the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, until July 13 2008.

The Mercer Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition of photographs whose roll call of sitters reads like a who's who of the Victorian world.

Black and white photo of an elderly man in a Victorian artist's studio

GF Watts in his studio. © GF Watts Gallery

Artists, literary figures, politicians and the venerable Queen Victoria herself all feature in the collection, which has come from the GF Watts Gallery in Surrey.

Among the 150 images are the Pre-Raphaelites Rossetti, Holman Hunt and Burne Jones, Frederick Lord Leighton and Harrogate's own William Powell Frith.

Sepia photo of a woman in a long satin dress

Ellen Terry. © GF Watts Gallery

Other familiar figures include politicians William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, and influential thinkers Ruskin, Carlyle and Darwin. Literary greats Tennyson, Dickens and George Eliot are also captured, as is actress Ellen Terry.

The artist GF Watts is also shown, and a section is devoted to artists' models.

The remarkable selection is drawn from an enormous collection amassed by late expert on Victorian painting, Jeremy Mass. It was recently acquired by Rob Dickins CBE, Chairman of Warner Music UK from 1983-1998. Dickins presented the collection to the Watts Gallery.

Black and white photo of an elderly Victorian man with two young children

Burne Jones and his grandchildren. © GF Watts Gallery

A complementary selection of Victorian paintings from the Harrogate Fine Art Collection is also on show, including WP Frith's 'Many Happy Returns fo the Day' and the newly restored Lilith by GF Watts.

This is an exhibition preview. If you've been to see the show, why not let us know what you think?

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