Beauty's Awakening: Drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Their Contemporaries from the Lanigan Collection

At the National Gallery of Canada

OTTAWA, Oct. 7, 2015 /CNW/ - From this coming October 9 to January 3, 2016, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) presents Beauty's Awakening: Drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Their Contemporaries from the Lanigan Collection. This exhibition expresses the richness, diversity and flair of British draftsmanship during the Victorian age (1837 to 1901), as seen through the eye of the discerning Saskatoon collector and donor Dennis T. Lanigan. To learn more about the exhibition, visit its website at

Through more than 120 stunning drawings, from preparatory sketches to highly finished drawings intended as works of art in and of themselves, visitors will discover how this passionate collector amassed a collection of works – outstanding by its scope in North America – that affords a panoramic view of the world of British art during the reign of Queen Victoria and reveals drawing in all its forms. Portraits, life studies, landscapes, allegories and scenes from religious and literary works are all represented.

While inviting contemplation of works by artists operating within the Aesthetic Movement and the Arts and Crafts Movement, the exhibition highlights the art of Pre-Raphaelite geniuses Edward Burne-Jones, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as that of Academic champions Edward Poynter and Frederic Leighton.

Painstakingly gathered over more than thirty years, the Lanigan Collection illustrates the new appreciation for the art of drawing in 19th-century England. Like the 1899 British play Beauty's Awakening, which tells the story of how the knight Trueheart attempts to find and awake "the Spirit of all things beautiful," the exhibition Beauty's Awakening recounts the quest for a form of beauty that is rooted in the past – with styles and themes harking back to classical and medieval times, as well as the Renaissance – and yet totally current.

Gifts of Victorian works to the NGC: a long-standing tradition
The exhibition Beauty's Awakening continues the commitment made by the National Gallery, when it was founded, to showcase British art. The artist Frederic Leighton was the first to offer the NGC a work in 1882, in response to an invitation extended to their British friends and artists by the Governor General of Canada, John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, and his wife, Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, who inaugurated the National Gallery in 1880. The second work came from John Everett Millais, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who made a portrait of the Marquess and donated it to the Gallery in 1884.

For the past two decades, Dennis T. Lanigan has enriched Canada's national collection through his donations of Victorian artworks. Thanks to his generosity, the NGC ranks among North America's major centres for the study of Victorian art and is better able to fulfil its mandate to preserve and display master drawings.

Next venue
The Leighton House Museum in London, U.K., will welcome Beauty's Awakening from February 12 to May 29, 2016, after the show closes in Ottawa.

A lavishly illustrated publication edited by Sonia Del Re, exhibition curator and Associate Curator of European, American and Asian Prints and Drawings at the NGC, accompanies the exhibition. The catalogue contains essays by Sonia Del Re, by leading Victorian art scholar Christopher Newall and by collector and donor Dennis T. Lanigan, who is also the author of eighty entries. It may be purchased for $40 at the NGC Bookstore and online at

In connection with the exhibition
A series of activities to enhance the exhibition experience have been scheduled, including exhibition tours with experts Sonia Del Re and Dennis T. Lanigan; a presentation by Victorian art specialist Christopher Newall as part of the Kathleen M. Fenwick Annual Memorial Lecture, and mini-tours. For dates and details, visit the exhibition website at

NGC Magazine, the National Gallery of Canada's online magazine, is a frequently updated source of information on the Canadian art world and events at the National Gallery of Canada.  Correspondents from across the country provide engaging and exclusive content on historical and contemporary art in Canada. This online magazine also includes interviews with artists. This month, read the article entitled Beauty's Awakening: Dennis Lanigan's superb collection.

Connect with the Gallery
Follow the Gallery's latest news on its social media networks:  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #BeautysAwakeningNGC

Tickets: $12 (adults); $10 (seniors and full-time students); $6 (youth: 12-19); $24 (families: two adults and three youth). Admission is free for children under the age of 12 and for Members. Includes admission to the NGC Collection.

The NGC is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays until 8 p.m. Closed Mondays. Open from noon until 5 pm on 11 November (Remembrance Day). Open between December 26 and 31. Closed on December 25 and January 1. For more information call 613-990-1985 or 1-800-319-ARTS.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit

Images are available in the Gallery's Media Centre, through the section "For the media" at


SOURCE National Gallery of Canada

For further information: For media only: Josée-Britanie Mallet, Senior Media and Public Relations Officer, National Gallery of Canada, 613.990.6835,

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