Date 1878-05-18
Publication Academy
Topic Grosvenor Gallery exhibition
AP display
RA display
Subject art
Keywords value
  ↳ effectiveness
  ↳ authenticity
Standards PRB aesthetic standards
Notes Aesthetic theory: large PRB/Cheyne contingent as exemplar.

Annotation details

78 May 18 Academy


Grosvenor Gallery Exhibition May 1878.


Rossetti, William M. "The Exhibition." Academy (May 18, 1878): 315. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


This review is uncharacteristically positive, opening with high praise for several Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painters and their associates, including Sir John Everett Millais, Sir Frederick Leighton, John R. S. Stanhope, Sir Edward John Poynter, and Cheyne Walk associates Alma-Tadema, George Frederick Watts, William Morris, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Alphonse Legros, James McNeil Whistler, and more.

Rossetti contrasts the high level of the Grosvenor Exhibition with the deficiency of the Royal Academy, finding the latter by comparison a "haphazard miscellaneous company," and praising the former as "far more serious and satisfying."

The essay contains a noteworthy explanation of what Rossetti considers the four essential "constituents" of pictorial art, including "Imaginative naiveté," "Sentiment as a guise of self-absorption," "Amorousness as the general keynote," and "Splendour of colour."

Rossetti examines several specific works by the above-named artists and more, done in his typical pattern of playing out the artist's scene and intention, examining how the artist carried out their scheme, then judging how well the work accomplished the goals and fulfilled the four constituents.

He reserved comment on the exhibitions figure-subjects, landscapes and water-colors for "another article."


critic, evaluator, advocate (for PRB principles and specific school-following artists), historian, journalist


the four essential constituents of pictorial art, value, effectiveness, authenticity

Standards of Judgment:

aesthetic norms of the PRB, past accomplishment by specific artists and movements


Sir John Everett Millais, Lawson, Alphonse Legros, Gregory, James McNeil Whistler, Alma-Tadema, Tissot, Spencer, John R. S. Stanhope, Sir Frederick Leighton, Boughton, Armstrong, Crane, James McNeil Whistler, Albert Moore, Sir Edward John Poynter, Boehm, Lady Waterford, William Morris, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, George Frederick Watts


evaluative, definitive

Writing technique/tone:



(see above)

Works Cited

Rossetti, William Michael. Some Reminiscences of William Michael Rossetti. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner, 1906. Print.