Well, there's these three....
Yes, well we can name Johnny Millais, Mental Hunt and Rossetti, but what about the others, the rest of the magnificent seven? Well, there was this bloke...
Oh Swoony Fred Stephens, how we love thee....so that makes six, who is number seven? I always forget him and so in an effort to make myself look less of a fool in front of people, and to pass on the wealth of useless knowledge I accrue in the process I bring you James Collinson, the Other Brother!
|Undated Self Portrait|
|The Charity Boy's Debut|
James may have had an ulterior motive for becoming chums with Rossetti. James Collinson was a devout Catholic, but converted to Anglicanism in order to get closer to a certain young lady...
|Christina Rossetti (1849)|
It was all going so well. Collinson painted possibly his best known Pre-Raphaelite work, The Renunciation of St. Elizabeth of Hungary in 1850.
|The Renunciation of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1850)|
|Christ in the Carpenter's Shop (1849-50) J E Millais|
All of a sudden people were questioning these young upstarts: Were they mocking religion? Were they mocking Mr Jesus and his weird looking mum? Collinson had a crisis in confidence, manifesting around his latent catholicism and he ended his relationship with all three Rossettis. Out of the brotherhood and away from Christina, Collinson went out on his own...
In a rash move, he sold all of his paints and brushes and decided to train for the priesthood, but that did not last. He returned to painting and married a Catholic, ElizaWheeler in 1858. Eliza was the sister-in-law of John Rogers Herbert, a painter whose work had influenced the Pre-Raphaelites.
|Our Saviour Subject to his Parents at Nazareth (1847) John Rogers Herbert|
I should really just label these 'Willing for a Shilling, parts one and two'. These two are probably the best known, but he also did other pictures of an equally crowd-pleasing nature...
|Private and Confidential|
|The Holy Family (1878)|
So, poor old Collinson. He died young, he lost his nerve and he's the least memorable of the Magnificent Seven who set up the art movement we all adore. I bet people think that Walter Deverell or Ford Madox Brown are members of the original line-up, rather than Collinson. If you had to name people who almost married Christina Rossetti, I bet most people would name John Brett before James Collinson. However, he was there at the beginning and for that we should be grateful and remember him. I hope that I have helped anyone who had difficulty in remembering Collinson will remember him now. Including me.