How to celebrate the Easter holidays?
Well, what better than a good book and a DVD starring Aidan Turner and a heap of fabulous Victorian costumes?
My publishers at Stripes have kindly given me the DVD of Desperate Romantics to give away. Based on the book by Franny Moyle, it tells the story of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millias and the other young artists who called themselves the Pre-Raphaelites and took on the Victorian Establishment in the 1850s. They lived, as they loved, fearlessly, without rules or compromises.
This was the film that gave my editor the idea for a red-headed girl who goes to London and becomes one of their beautiful, complicated muses. That story became Following Ophelia and its sequel, Unveiling Venus, which came out last month.
To win a copy of the DVD and both books, just add a comment here mentioning your favourite artist or artists. (The long list of mine includes Fra Lippo Lippi, Botticelli, Whistler, Berthe Morrisot, Matisse and Rothko.) I’ll put the names in a suitably extravagant hat and draw the winner out on Easter Monday. Make sure you check back to see if you’ve won as I’ll need your contact details. This competition applies in the UK only.
Rossetti’s sister, Christina, captured it best:
In an artist’s studio
One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans;
We found her hidden just behind those screens,
That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queenin opal or in ruby dress,
A nameless girl in freshest summer greens,
A saint, an angel; — every canvass means
The same one meaning, neither more nor less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night,
And she with true kind eyes looks back on him
Fair as the moon and joyfull as the light;
Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.
Good luck! And Happy Easter.