Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

If the name Vanessa Bell (1879-1961) doesn’t ring a bell, then maybe her younger sister’s name, Virginia Woolf, does. Happily, my recent stay in London coincided with an exhibition of Vanessa’s art at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, and I also visited Charleston House, her charming rural bolthole in East Sussex. Combining these visits enabled me to better understand this artist […]

The famous literary Brontë family lived in Haworth Parsonage, Yorkshire, between 1820 and 1861. Their austere grey-stone home, surrounded by dark-green trees, prickly hedges and bleak moors, is infused with gothic imaginations. Even though it is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and nothing can be touched, this is a place where astonishing art was created by three sisters. I imagine […]

These days, it is cool to poo-poo the pursuit of beauty in art, but avant-garde writers and artists in late-nineteenth-century Europe, particularly in the hedonistic capital of France, celebrated the power of beauty to transform the beholder. English literary genius, Oscar Wilde, was notorious as the witty spokesman of Aestheticism and its bold declaration that art should be independent from […]

Categories: Musings on Art

In 1848, inspired by medieval art and literature, seven young British artists formed the semi-secret Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB). Together they explored new ways of ensuring that visual truth could be better expressed through a more realistic, less idealised art, which had been previously defined by the standards of classicism and High Renaissance art. During a time of profound change in […]

Categories: Musings on Art

Spitalfields in East London sounds like a place out of a Dickens novel; images come to mind of the Artful Dodger racing over the cobblestones and seedy characters lurking in dark and foggy alleyways, spitting as they size each other up. However, any macabre desire to encounter ghosts from Victorian times was abated by the bright sunny day in July […]

Categories: Slideshow Articles

A sense of timelessness pervades the circuit walk at Stourhead garden in Wiltshire, England. This is a sublime place of beauty where nature has become art, ordered and arranged by humans. The last time I experienced this eighteenth-century landscape garden was on 28 October 2012 when rain tumbled softly, unhurried in the calm weather. Autumn colours were heightened by the […]

Categories: Musings on Art

For most of us, Christmas takes us back to our childhood: Christmas stories, dressing up as Mary or Joseph or the shepherds (with a tea-towel head covering) in the kinder nativity pageant, family gatherings indulging in traditional Christmas food, leaving out milk and cookies for Santa Claus, the Christmas tree and Christmas carols. Since the 1970s and the Vietnam War, […]

Categories: Musings on Art

Barbara Hepworth’s garden in St Ives, Cornwall, is small and walled, but there are foregrounds and views which are framed by the ‘holes’ that pierce most of her sculptures. This place of art echoes Hepworth’s philosophy as an artist: “to infuse the formal perfection of geometry with the vital grace of nature”.  A bird’s-eye view of Barbara’s ‘back-yard’ would be […]

My parents had a Constable hanging on the wall of our family home for years . . . reproductions of Constable’s idyllic English landscapes like ‘The Hay Wain’ were popular after WWII.  John Constable (1776-1837) painted ‘Study of ‘A boat passing a lock’’ (owned by the National Gallery of Victoria) between 1823 and 1826: the sluice gates of Flatford lock […]

Paradoxically, works of art are wordless meditations on life which highlight the inadequacy of language and frequently testify to the ideas of the sublime and the beautiful. Two months ago I was on a return visit to London’s National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I first saw the sizeable (292 x 246.4 cm) George Stubbs painting, ‘Whistlejacket’ (c.1762; image below), two […]

Categories: Musings on Art