Simeon Solomon

England / 1840 - 1905 / / wikipedia
Gay, Jewish and alcoholic, Pre-Raphaelite artist Simeon Solomon was always going to stand out in Victorian Britain, which was undergoing a revival of Christian, moral temperance. Initially, at least, Solomon was accepted into the art establishment, exhibiting regularly at the Royal Academy. His large-scale works were peopled by figures from antiquity and the Torah, rich in allegory and drenched in sentiment (“bordering a little on the crapulous” as a contemporary critic opined, though this could apply equally to their creator). After an arrest for cottaging, Solomon’s fortunes waned, and once released from prison he was reduced to selling matches and drawing on pavements. He spent the last 20 years of his life in a workhouse in London’s Covent Garden, where he died on this day in 1905. These studies and stand-alone drawings display the draughtsmanship so admired by fellow artists, and include portraits of Burne-Jones, Swinburne and the delightfully named Fanny Eaton.

Simeon Solomon (9 Oct. 1840 – 14 Aug. 1905); English Pre-Raphaelite painter noted for his depictions of Jewish life and same-sex desire.

Solomon was born into a prominent Jewish family. He was the eighth and last child born to merchant Michael (Meyer) Solomon and artist Catherine (Kate) Levy. Solomon was a younger brother to fellow painters Abraham Solomon and Rebecca Solomon.

Born and educated in London, Solomon started receiving lessons in painting from his older brother around 1850. He started attending Carey's Art Academy in 1852. His older sister first exhibited her works at the Royal Academy during the same year.

As a student at the Royal Academy Schools, Solomon was introduced through Dante Gabriel Rossetti to other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, as well as the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne and the painter Edward Burne-Jones in 1857. His first exhibition was... (
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Suzan Hamer


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