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Pre-Raphaelites connections

Drawing on blue paper of  a piece of acanthus leaf architectural decorationDrawing of acanthus leaf architectural detail by William DyceKing's was home to two of the most important figures in the movement: William Dyce and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Dyce (1806-1864) was a Scottish painter and Royal Academician and Professor of Fine Arts at King's College from 1844.His youthful career as a portraitist was spent in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London and Rome, and he was an early, if not the earliest exponent, of what became the Pre-Raphaelite style.

Dyce achieved some critical acclaim with his A Virgin and Child, The Infant Hercules strangling the Serpents and Bacchus nursed by the Nymphs of Nysa. His homage to Titian is evident in one of his finest works, Titian's First Essay in Colour.

Dyce was also a leading advocate of the application of art and design to manufacture and fine arts generally, in particular stained glass work, excellent examples of which are found in Ely Cathedral and in Alnwick.

Dyce was central to the reform of British art education during the 1840s, examining the continental example on a tour sponsored by the Board of Trade. He was a juror at the Royal Exhibition in 1851 and painted frescoes on the theme of King Arthur for the new Palace of Westminster.

Dyce's talents extended to early experiments into electro-magnetism and the magnetic fields associated with living organisms, the composition of church music and even the redesign of the florin or two shilling piece. He died in 1864.

The poet and painter, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828-1882, was joint founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and a pupil at King's College School between 1837 and 1841.

His father, Gabriele Rossetti, was Professor of Italian at King's during this period.

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