Exhibition Opening November 3, 2018 – Politics and Paint: Barbara Bodichon and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

Wilmington, DE (October 26, 2018) – To request an interview with Dr. Margaretta S. Frederick, Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection, or to request images, please contact Ti Hall, Manager of Communications and Storytelling, at thall@delart.org or 302-351-8558.

Politics and Paint: Barbara Bodichon and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

November 3, 2018 – February 3, 2019 (Gallery 9)

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827–1891) was an early female painter in the Pre-Raphaelite movement and ardent women’s rights campaigner. Landscape was Bodichon’s preferred genre, and her style reflects Pre-Raphaelite principles of careful observation and detailed rendering. Bodichon traveled widely and exhibited at the Royal Academy and Gambart’s French Gallery in Pall Mall, London, among other venues.

Throughout her life she was a tireless reformer and champion of women’s rights. In 1854, she published her A Brief Summary in Plain Language of the Most Important Laws Concerning Women , which was later used to promote the passage of the Married Women’s Property Act 1882. In 1858, she set up the English Woman’s Journal and in 1866, with Emily Davies, developed a strategy to extend university education to women, resulting in the founding of Girton College, Cambridge.

An inheritance from her father, radical Whig politician Ben Leigh Smith, allowed her an independence that was almost unheard of for a woman of the Victorian age. She was a true original spirit, ignoring class and gender restrictions. Rossetti described her as “blessed with… enthusiasm, & golden hair, who thinks nothing of climbing up a mountain in breeches or wading through a stream in none, in the sacred name of pigment.”

In 2016, the Museum acquired the watercolor Ventnor, Isle of Wight (1856), which became the inspiration for this exhibition. Bodichon’s working process will be examined and feature watercolor sketches and drawings from her travels. The approximately 30 works are drawn from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware and recent acquisitions in the Museum’s permanent collection.

This exhibition is organized by the Delaware Art Museum with financial support provided, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

About the Delaware Art Museum

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the largest and most significant Pre-Raphaelite collection outside of the United Kingdom.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. It is bearing fruit. In 2017, attendance exceeded 80,000 (the most in a decade!) and we served 29,267 youth and adults through a wide range of programs and events. Visit delart.org to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.

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