Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Pre-Raphaelites at Wallington Hall

Last Friday I finally visited Wallington Hall in Northumberland, the home of the Trevelyan's. The Trevelyan's were great patrons and supporters of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Central Hall is an example of a Pre-Raphaelite decorative scheme. Although the electric 'Victorianess' may not be to everyone's taste no-one can deny its uniqueness. For a Pre-Raphaelite enthusiastic it is simply fabulous and of course a little bit bonkers. Below are my photographs and a little bit of information.

Central Hall
The central hall was designed by John Dobson of Newcastle and it was built between 1853-4. The style is inspired by a palazzo of the Italian Renaissance, supported by Ruskin in his The Stones of Venice. 

William Bell Scott paintings
In March 1856 William Bell Scott, a good friend of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was commissioned by Calverley and Pauline Trevelyan to decorate the Central Hall with wall paintings. The result is eight tableaux illustrating various points of history of the north east region. They are painted in beautiful Pre-Raphaelite attention to detail and Bell Scott handled the paint so minutely it is hard to decipher the brush strokes. The details below reveal how detailed they were painted - especially the fabric.
King Eg frid and St Cuthbert (detail)

King Eg frid and St Cuthbert (detail)

King Eg frid and St Cuthbert (detail)

King Eg frid and St Cuthbert (detail)
Death of Bede (detail)
The Spur in the Dish (detail)
In the 19th Century the Northumbrians show the world what can be done with Iron and Coal
This is probably the most famous of the series and never one of my personal favourites, although when you see it in situ you certainly appreciate it a bit more!
Wall Paintings
As you can from Iron and Coal the walls of the central hall are painted with flowers and plants to further the illusion of being outside.
William Bell Scott's monogram

Wall mural painted by Pauline Trevelyan

Wall mural by Ruskin
Having recently completed an essay on the subject of Pre-Raphaelite sculpture, particularly focusing on Thomas Woolner's portrait sculpture, it was fantastic to see some sculpture in the setting for which it was designed.

Thomas Woolner, Civilisation. The sculpture depicts a mother teaching her young son to recite the Lords Prayer.

The plinth on which the figures stand is carved with scenes of Pagan savagery. 

Alexander Munro, Pauline, Lady Trevelyan

Munro's famous Paolo and Francesca from 1851 is placed in the staircase hall. It is small plaster cast created for the Great Exhibition.

Lady Trevelyan's Parlour
This room is decorated with Morris & Co. wallpaper and carpet.There is also a Burne-Jones painting that I did not get a good photograph of - The Pilgrim at the Gate of Idleness. 
William Bell Scott, Pauline Trevelyan, 1864

William Bell Scott, Sir Walter Calverley Trevelyan, 6th Bt, 1859

There are so many fascinating examples of Pre-Raphaelitism as well as other artists such as Frith, Turner, Lucas Cranach, Reynolds and Gainsborough - definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the vicinity. I certainly could spend hours in the Central Hall.


  1. Thanks for sharing your visit with us I’ve really enjoyed looking round the Hall through your excellent photos. The Munro portrait relief of Lady Trevelyan is beautiful and your photo captures it so well.


  2. Really enjoyed reading your blog and the excellent photographs you took..wonderful to see works in the context they were created for and the Woolner Sculptures look superb