'Nothing like dumbing-it-down for the masses - at least these earnest damsels (and mostly they are) might have considered that 'Wombat Wednesday' has a decidedly nicer ring to it. But you know, they are self-proclaimed experts on all things PRB, so I suppose one must grin and bear it all and ignore.'
Oh dear me. Shall we begin?
Last March I wrote a piece here on this blog about Wombat Friday. It had really just begun among the blogging Pre-Raphaelite community and it seemed like a jolly good thing because it gave everyone a light-hearted excuse to celebrate some aspect of Pre-Raphaelitism at the end of every week. Everyone. Lawks knows what we did for the sales of stuffed cuddly wombats but even one of those was not strictly necessary. You just had to turn up on-line and have a giggle. Where could be the harm in that?
|Rossetti's Wombat by William Bell Scott (Actually, probably a woodchuck)
Jane Morris denied it. Rossetti was affected by hydrocele of the testicle. I'm not arguing that his relationship with Jane Morris was an affair, just not a sexual one. It's not always about sex you know. Also, just because Rossetti had the relationship with Jane it did not mean he hated William. To be honest I have always thought that Topsy the Wombat gives us an insight into the relationship between Morris and Rossetti. Rather than the wombat being a figure of contempt Rossetti loved the creature. His grief when Topsy died was more demonstrative than when his wife died, for goodness sake. This tells me that (a) Rossetti was a mess and (b) something more symbolic was going on. Topsy the wombat is the perfect symbol of how more complicated interpersonal relationships between the Pre-Raphaelite circle of the late 1860s was. But you knew that.
|The sleeping wombat at the wedding feast in The Red House mural
|My wombat, my cake, my Stunner...
This is not a clique. This is not a closed party. This is your art, if you are reading this, this is your passion. The wombat in London was a stranger, an exotic, at odds with society. The wombat was our Pre-Raphaelite heroes and heroines, at odds with their society, in a cuddly furry bundle of mischief. Wombat Friday goes beyond whether one man slept with another man's wife (Really, can we not move on?) and gives those of us who adore this unfashionable, maddening, curious, beautiful, familiar, strange art movement somewhere to go and meet people who love the same thing.
Wombat Friday is a smile amongst friends - it's just that some of your friends are bona-fide art historians, some work in universities, some are brilliant novelists, some are men and women who dedicate their life to researching the art we all love.
Hi, I'm Kirsty Stonell Walker, self-proclaimed expert and earnest damsel and this is Wombat Friday.
And you are all very much invited to play along.