James Collinson

James Collinson

Artist: James Collinson
Born: 9 May 1825, Mansfield, England
Movement: Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
Died: 24 January 1881, London, UK

James Collinson was a painter and a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood from 1848 to 1850.

The Holy Family, 1878, oil on canvas.

Collinson was in Nottinghamshire and was the son of a bookseller. He was a member of the Royal Academy Schools and was a fellow student of Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Collinson was a devout Christian and was attracted to the devotional and high church aspects of Pre-Raphaelitism. A convert to Catholicism, he returned to high Anglicanism to marry Christina Rossetti. His conscience forced his return to Catholicism and the break-up of the engagement. Collinson resigned from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the belief that it was against the Christian religion following the controversy and accusations of blasphemy that followed the exhibition of Millais’ painting Christ in the House of his Parents.

The Sisters, 1848-50, oil on canvas

During his Pre-Raphaelite period, Collinson contributed a long devotional poem to The Germ and produced a sizeable number of religious works, including The Renunciation of St Elizabeth of Hungary. After his resignation from the Brotherhood he trained for the priesthood at a Jesuit seminary college, he did not complete his studies. In 1858 he married Eliza Wheeler and returned to his artistic career and produced secular genre work including To Let and For Sale, both of which suggested, in a light-hearted manner, pretty women in situations of moral temptation. In the latter part of his life he lived in Brittainy, where he painted The Holy Family. He died in 1881,

©JG Farmer 2019

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