The Legend of King Arthur A Pre-Raphaelite Love Story opened at Tullie House, in Carlisle, on Saturday.
We had decided to visit on the first day and had been eagerly anticipating the exhibition. Wow! We weren't disappointed. The reviews were fantastic; the Times hailed "this swoon of a show!" when it opened at the William Morris Gallery. We couldn't agree more with this critic's opinion.
The exhibition tells the Arthurian stories, as presented by Malory's Morte d'Arthur and Tennyson's Idylls of the King, through the work of Pre-Raphaelite artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Arthur Hughes, John William Waterhouse and William Morris alongside lesser known female Pre-Raphaelite artists Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale and Elizabeth Siddal.
Appreciating the Arthurian legends through the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, including many wonderful books and artefacts, as well as fabulous paintings, is a wonderful way to see how an interest in medievalism was reawakened in Victorian England. It's amazing to think that the Morte d'Arthur and Arthurian legends were over looked for centuries, in the face of the, supposed, Enlightenment.
Seeing this exhibition in Carlisle was also amazing; making so many links between Arthurian legends and Cumbria - Pendragon Castle, Carlisle Castle, Aira Force and Hutton-in-the Forest - to name but a few.
We gazed at paintings and tapestries as well as enjoying many of the books on show. It was quite exhausting! We were glad of refreshment in the coffee shop, where we chatted to some visitors from Wightwick Manor. All in all a fabulous day.