Going to Market

John Lee1860

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Lee’s sharp-focus technique and bright colour shows his awareness of the work of the Pre-Raphaelites. The rough textures of the children’s clothing, the basketwork, the feathers of the chicken and the donkey’s fur are all accurately recorded, but the build-up of detail has a curiously flat, claustrophobic effect. The work of this Liverpool painter is rare and very few works by him are known. Of the thirteen pictures he is recorded as having exhibited during his lifetime, only six are known today.

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  • Title: Going to Market
  • Creator: John J Lee
  • Date Created: 1860
  • tag / style: John J Lee; Raphaelite; children; girl; boy; donkey; market; basket; load; riding; red hair; fur
  • Physical Dimensions: w370 x h462 cm (Without frame)
  • Artist biographical information: John Lee (active 1859-1867) was one of the group of Merseyside artists who, during the 1850s and 1860s, admired and emulated the brightly-coloured, minutely detailed painting style of the London based Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Very little is known about Lee. He exhibited at the Liverpool Academy between 1859 and 1867 and at the Royal Academy in London between 1863 and 1867. He lived in Rock Ferry near Birkenhead and had a studio in Liverpool. In 1866 he moved to London, possibly in part prompted by the demise of the Liverpool Academy. Liverpool was unique among provincial towns in having a substantial Pre-Raphaelite following among its artists. In part this arose as a result of the exhibiting opportunities that were available to outside artists who were able to show at the annual Liverpool Academy exhibition. There was a £50 ‘non-member prize’ awarded by the Liverpool Academy that was won on seven occasions between 1851 and 1859 by London Pre-Raphaelites or their associates. John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Ford Madox Brown, and William Dyce all won this prize on one or more occasions. In part, Pre-Raphaelitism developed in Liverpool because of the vigorous advocacy of its principles by the artist William Windus, who, having first visited the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1851, returned to Liverpool full of enthusiasm for the new movement. Windus became in effect the leader of a younger group of artists within the Liverpool Academy who sought to distance themselves from more traditional figures like the topographical view painter Herdman and the animal painter Huggins. Also among the several prosperous individuals buying pictures in Liverpool was a tobacco merchant, John Miller of Everton, who bought a number of works by both London and Liverpool Pre-Raphaelite painters.
  • Additional artwork information: To read more about this painting, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/online/pre-raphaelites/market.aspx
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Bequeathed by John Elliot in 1917


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