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Deathly cold, grey skies, and blankets of pure white snow were all wintery symbols used by Victorian artists to convey emotion and meaning

These symbols were drawn from direct experience and from the world of literature. ‘Blow Blow thou winter wind’ was the title Millais borrowed from Shakespeare as the title for his socially critical work of the same title, which was based on the cruel winter landscapes he during his time in Perth.

Whilst Millais’ realism employs the winter scene to demonstrate poverty and suffering, much in the same way Rossetti’s ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, and Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ did, this wasn’t exclusively how this emotive time of year was used symbolically by Victorian artists.

Walter Crane used winter for its beauty in his aesthetic work, and Waterhouse’s snow in his fabulous ‘Saint Eulalia’ is purely symbolic of innocence and loss.

De Morgan curator, Sarah Hardy, will take you on this wintery walk through Victorian painting.

Recommended donation is £5

Image: John Everett Millais, ‘Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind’ (1892) (C) Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Moss Davis, 1933