J W Waterhouse

A fresh appraisal of one of the most enduringly popular Victorian artists.

Peter Trippi


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John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) is one of the most enduringly popular of the Victorian artists, and paintings such as The Lady of Shalott, Hylas and The Nymphs and Ophelia have become icons recognized the world over. With their compelling composition and glowing colour, these works are admired for their beauty and for their power to transport the viewer into a romantic world of myth and legend. At the same time, Waterhouse's wistful heroines also reflect the troubled attitudes of nineteenth-century male artists towards women.

In this carefully researched new study, Peter Trippi presents a fresh and absorbing analysis of the artist's seductresses, martyrs and nymphs, and the cultural and historical circumstances in which they were produced. He also draws on new research to provide an accessible biography of the artist. Themes explored include Waterhouse's passion for Italy, literature and the classical world, the role of the Royal Academy in his life, his stylistic influences and studio practice, and his relations with collectors, dealers, critics and curators.

Neglected throughout much of the twentieth century, Waterhouse has enjoyed a dramatic revival of fortune. Trippi's monograph provides a timely re-evaluation that combines a close reading of Waterhouse's imagery with a candid appraisal of the milieu in which he worked.


Format: Paperback
Size: 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in)
Pages: 240 pp
Illustrations: 220 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714845180

Peter Trippi is Director of the Dahesh Museum of Art, New York.

"A fresh and absorbing analysis."—Antiques Trade Gazette

"Scholarly and detailed book."—Times Literary Supplement

"A must for Pre-Raphaelite fans."—The Argus

"This is good social art history in a sumptuous format."—Independent)

"Until I read this meticulously researched, cogently argued and handsomely illustrated book, all I knew about Waterhouse could have been written on the back of a postage stamp."—World of Interiors)

"While the book places the artist within his era, it is Trippi's sensitive descriptions of the works and his attention to technique and the painted surface that give his method innovation and insight. The handsome colour plates, including double-page spreads of such monumental works as St Cecilia (1895) and Hylas and the Nymphs (1896) as well as the hitherto unreproduced Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May (1909), substantiate Trippi's assertion that Waterhouse's complex aesthetic still compels audiences today."—Art Quarterly

"Beautifully designed, sumptuously illustrated and reasonably priced... Trippi has produced a book which will appeal to a wide variety of readers."—Colin Cruise, Staffordshire University, The Art Book

"A fresh and absorbing analysis."—Antiques Trade Gazette

"Scholarly and detailed book."—Times Literary Supplement

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