John Everett Millais was born in Southampton (just round the corner from Halifax and Waterstones) and so in a way it is unsurprising that in their rather modern, open-plan art gallery lurks some splendid items of Victorian art. Take this for example...
|Leicester and Amy Robsart at Cunnor Hall (1866) Edward Matthew Ward|
Anyway, what else can I find?
|The Casualty List Leonard Frank Skeats|
|Despair (1881) Frank Holl|
|Hope (1883) Frank Holl|
|Romeo and Juliet (1884) Frank Dicksee|
|The Captain's Daughter (1873) James Tissot|
|Cordelia's Portion (1867-75) Ford Madox Brown|
Well, as wonderful as all this is, it is mere foreplay (oh, naughty) for what is a room of wonderfulness. After a couple of rooms painted all pale and modern, there is a dark, wood-panelled sanctum of fabulousness. The Perseus Story, a series of 10 gouache studies by Edward Burne-Jones line the walls and surround you with their utter beauty. They were commissioned by Arthur Balfour between 1876 and 1885 but the paintings were never executed. What we have left are these extraordinary, ocean-toned scenes of Perseus and Medusa...
|The Doom Fulfilled|
|The Baleful Head|
|Perseus and the Graiae|
I think that Southampton probably is better known for its amazing modern art collection (modern, t'uh), and I ought to mention two rather splendid examples that caught my eye. First up, is Claude Rogers' Miss Lynn...
|Miss Lynn (1951) Claude Rogers|
It has a touch of the medieval about it and a hint of Stanley Spencer, and I love that hanging lamp, so I give it my full endorsement. Who doesn't love an apparelled amice?
So, to sum up, come to sunny Southampton, park in the Toys-R-Us car park (it's cheaper) and walk up the steep hill to the art gallery.
It's worth the climb for the Burne-Jones room alone.