Join us for this special study day which will explore the genre of fairy painting in Victorian Art. Charting the development of fairy painting from Romanticism through to Symbolism, our three distinguished speakers will examine how artists depicted fairies in their work and what such fairies meant for their work. 

Art of the Victorian age was fascinated with fairies and themes of the supernatural. Across three lectures, we will examine this fascination and chart the development of the genre from its origins in the theatre and literature of Romanticism, right through to the metaphorical powers it held in the art of Symbolism, particularly the radical Pre-Raphaelite circle. Whilst the portrayal of fairies seems at odds with the Pre-Raphaelites aim to pursue 'truth' in their art, these talks will discuss how, becoming caught up in the cultural zeitgeist of the time, the group formed their own fairy archetype. 

The day will be divided into a morning and afternoon session and will consist of lectures from three distinguished speakers. We are very pleased to welcome as our keynote speaker Dr. Carol Jacobi, Curator of British Art (1850-1915) at Tate Britain. Joining Carol will be Professor Geraint John, Emeritus President of St Albans Civic Society, and Professor Tim Boatswain, Professor of Anthropology and History and also a regular speaker here at St Albans Cathedral. More information about our speakers and their lecture subjects can be found below. 

This event is being held on Saturday 26 March in the Alban Room above the Welcome Centre at St Albans Cathedral. The event will run from 10.30am - c.3.30pm with an hour and a half scheduled in for lunch. Teas and coffees will be provided but lunch will not be provided. Please note that there is no parking onsite unless for access issues. 

About the Speakers:

Introduction: Romanticism to the Pre-Raphaelites - Professor Tim Boatswain

Tim Boatswain is a professor of Anthropology and History. He has held numerous academic posts both in the UK and abroad and is currently Chairman and Professor of TMC International College, a higher education institution in Singapore which teaches UK university degrees in Singapore, China, Vietnam and Myanmar. Tim is also President of St Albans Civic Society and Chairman of Conservation 50 and Blue Plaques St Albans. 

Seeing Fairies: Blake to Symbolism - Dr. Carol Jacobi 

Carol Jacobi is currently Curator of British Art (1850-1915) at Tate Britain. She has previously acted as a freelance writer, curator and lecturer and has taught various MA programmes at Birkbeck College and the Courtauld Institute focusing on nineteenth-century British Art. Carol completed a PhD on the painter William Holman Hunt, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and her book, William Holman Hunt: Painting, Painter, Paint, was published by Manchester University Press in 2006. We are delighted to welcome Carol as our keynote speaker for this event. 

Epilogue: Holman Hunt to E.R Hughes, the last Pre-Raphaelite? - Professor Geraint John 


Geraint John is a President Emeritus of St Albans Civic Society, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Hertfordshire. He is an architect and Senior Adviser to the Populous Design Practice. Geraint is the co-author of many books, the most recent being "Olympic Stadia: Theatres of Dreams". He has a long interest in the artist ER Hughes and was part of the team which created the exhibition about him.