|Detail from "Iron and Coal"|
|Notes & References|
|1997 Pre-Raphaelite Roster|
|Cosmic Baseball Record|
William Bell Scott1811-1890
Scottish Poet and Painter.
Scott was the last of seven children born to Robert and Ross Scott of Edinburgh, Scotland. Early influenced by William Blake, Scott published his first book of poetry Hades; or the Transit, and the Progress of Mind in 1838. The poetry is essentially versified philosophy. In 1842 the Royal Academy accepted one of Scott's painting for its annual exhibition. The following year, Scott was appointed head of an art school in Newcastle.
In 1847 Dante Gabriel Rossetti read two of Scott's poems and wrote the poet a letter praising his work. Soon after this, Scott met the Rossetti family in London. This began a lifelong association with the Rossettis and the Pre-Raphaelite vortex.
One of Christina Rossetti's biographers, Lona Mosk Packer, has put forth a theory that Christina fell in love with Scott, while she was engaged to William Collinson. Other scholars doubt the validity of the "Packer Hypothesis" but at the very least, the two were close friends for many years.
Scott was married to Letitia Norquoy and in 1859 he met Alice Boyd and soon a menage a trois that included Mrs. Scott developed and lasted for some 26 years. The Rossettis, including Christina, would visit Scott and his mistress at Penkill Castle in Ayrshire, Ms. Boyd's country home. In 1866 Christina traveled to Penkill with Mrs. Scott, who would visit her husband and mistress for short visits during the summer. (During the winter, Ms. Boyd lived with the Scott's in their London home). An odd situation that one commentator explains:
To the twentieth-century mind the situation seems peculiar, to say the least; but the Victorians were expert in the useful art of turning a blind eye, and thought no worse of themselves for failing to observe what was not actually thrust upon their notice.William Bell Scott wrote and published a number of poetry volumes including The Year of the World (1847), Poems of a Painter (1854), Poems (1875), A Poet's Harvest Home (1882). Two of his poems were published in The Germ, the experimental and short-lived official publication of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
William Bell Scott
Detail from "Iron and Coal", 1855-1860
Oil on canvas. 188 x 188 cm
Scott also painted. A series of eight large pieces picturing Northumbrian history ends with a scene depicting modern industrial themes called "Iron and Coal" (1855-1860). It is reminiscent of Ford Madox Brown's "Work" (1852-1865).
Although clearly influenced by "Work"...its view is detached. The workers are not made into demi-gods or proletarian heroes, and as a result Scott has achieved an epic art of the ordinary, a contemporary subject with its own innate grandeur in the way that the heroism of antiquity had been to its own epoch. 
It was Scott, along with Ms Boyd who persuaded D.G. Rossetti to exhume the poetry, that Rossetti in a fit of grief had placed in his wife's coffin. Towards the end of D.G. Rossetti's life, Scott was a frequent card partner, and Rossetti, like his sister, enjoyed summer trips to Penkill.
When Scott died in 1890, Swinburne mourned the death of the man who did much to bring him into the Pre-Raphaelite orbit. He wrote "Memorial Verses" extolling Scott:
Two years later, after the publication of Scott's Autobiographical Notes, which one reviewer called "among the most candid and vivid sources of first-hand glimpses of the Pre-Raphaelite circle" , Swinburne was enraged. Scott was now, according to the irate Swinburne:
a man whose name would never have been heard, whose verse would never have been read, whose daubs would never have been seen, outside some aesthetic Lilliput of the North, but for his casual and parasitical association with the Trevelyans, Rossettis, and myself.,
|Notes & References|
Note 1. Georgina Battiscombe. Christina Rossetti: A Divided Life. New York, 1981; page 125.
Note 2. Andrea Rose. The Pre-Raphaelites London, 1977; page 31
Note 3. Lionel Stevenson. The Pre-Raphaelite Poets. New York, 1972; page 260
Note 4. Swinburne as quoted in Stevenson, page 260.
William Bell Scott, Autobiographical Notes. London, 1892.
|William Bell Scott|
His friend, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, has persuaded Mr. Scott to return to the cosmic field of play and he joins the 1997 Pre-Raphaelite Baseball Club as a utility outfielder for the 1997 season.
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1997 Pre-Raphaelite Roster