A visit to check on William Holman Hunt’s “The Shadow of Death” after seeing it in Leeds art gallery on Wednesday. As I thought – Manchester has the large original and Leeds has a smaller, later version. I also spent some time looking at Ford Madox Brown’s “Work”: what an odd, crammed, intriguing painting it is. Victorian artists certainly knew how to hook the viewer (or perhaps I’ve been programmed to reach for the bait). Some more Edward Blair Leighton (of Lady Godiva): nice to look at. I looked in again at the pre-Raphafelites; the gallery has gained a lot of publicity over the past few days by removing (then reinstating) “Hylas and the Nymphs” by J W Waterhouse. Like Madame Butterfly, it’s a slightly unsettling work of art – just how old are those nymphs? – but it’s pointless hiding it away. It is tacky, but the whole gallery is full of girls and women whose clothes appear to have fallen off for no reason.
I do like Millais’s later Scottish painting: this one in particular. I like the way the girl and dog are positioned at the edge of the painting looking at something we can’t see.