Thursday, May 23, 2013

That Blue - Lapis Lazuli

April Love by ER Hughes
When I was a teenager I saw the work of  Edward Robert Hughes in a gallery; I was smitten.  It was this painting, 'April Love'.  At the time I thought he was one of the pre-raphaelite painters.  I remember telling my mother about the beautiful painting I had seen in the gallery that day when I got home.  When I mentioned the pre-raphaelite's she immediately knew which painting i was talking about. Speaking to the dreamer and romantic within me, I was utterly captivated...beautiful young women with flowing hair and robes painted with a heightened reality, set in nature.  What teenage girl wouldn't love them? 

Midsummers Eve by Hughes
Later I found out that Hughes was not actually one of the  pre-raphaelite group. That surprised me. He was not even a contemporary in his time.  Like John William Waterhouse who was also heavily influenced by the pre-raphaelite style...both continued painting in this (at the time) 'old fashioned' the late Victorian, and well into the Edwardian eras.

When I was in college I purchased a few posters to decorate my room.  One of them was 'Midsummer's Eve'.  My friend Jane Stamps  always sent a Christmas card with an angel on it every year, it was 'Night With Her Train of Stars' by Hughes.  I still have that card, though my dear friend Jane is no longer with us. She's gone to join her angels.

Hughes used a lot of Lapus Lazuli in his paintings, that gorgeous iconic blue which has been treasured by artists over the centuries. 
Night With Her Train of Stars by Edward Robert Hughes
Lapis Lazuli- Italian Renaissance  art
Lapis Lazuli is a rock that mostly consists of the mineral Lazurite.   Ground into pigments throughout antiquity; it was prized as it was a relatively rare semi-precious stone... these days, it is the synthetic version, French Ultramarine Blue, that has largely replaced Lapis Lazuli on most painters palettes.


  1. Beautiful post. I loved the
    Pre-Raphaelites too as a young girl, and still do when I see the work in a gallery. Stunningly beautiful. This colour is suddenly big again in fashion I notice. I love what you said about your friend. Thank you for sharing this artist and your thoughts.

    XO Barbara

  2. Hi Barbara,
    thanks for your nice words. I hadn't noticed that this colour has had a resurgence in fashion lately...but I was thinking about it because it is the colour that Holly has chosen for bridesmaid dresses.

  3. Hi Sally,
    Loved your post!! Very evocative and informative! I have a card with Midsummer's Eve on it - I have long admired that painting too!
    I hadn't seen Hugh's Night With a Train of Stars before - Lovely. How special that it reminds you of your friend.How exciting to be in the thick of wedding plans!

    Take care,

  4. Your post brought back so many happy memories for me - posters as a student - Arthur Hughes' and Millais' 'Ophelia'.
    Visiting my local gallery's in the North - The Walker, Lady Lever and Manchester Gallery with their wonderful pre-Raphaelite collections.

  5. Hi Wendy,
    I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, i had fun creating it, remembering those lovely paintings.

  6. Hi Sarah,
    I'm not surprised that you also loved the pre-raphaelites...such beauty, yes i love 'Ophelia' too!

  7. A great post Sally!
    Blue is such a beautiful color!
    Very informative!
    Thank you!


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