Exhibition – ‘Industrious but Eccentric’: Algernon Charles Swinburne at Balliol, 12-13 September


Balliol Historic Collections Centre, St Cross Church, Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UH

Algernon Charles Swinburne may not be a household name today, but in the past he was infamous for his shockingly republican and sexual poetry, introduced to children as a standard author, and was so highly regarded that he was repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature.  This exhibition uses manuscripts, archives, printed books, and artworks from Balliol College’s collections to demonstrate the influence of his student days in Oxford.  He met the Pre-Raphaelites while they painted the Oxford Union mural, and the lifelong bonds he formed with the Rossetti brothers, Holman-Hunt, and Morris are all explored, alongside his unlikely friendship with Balliol’s Master, the classical scholar Benjamin Jowett.

Highlights include William Bell Scott’s portrait of the poet and Max Beerbohm’s cartoon of Swinburne on a cliff edge with Jowett, as well as manuscript poems, the Kelmscott Press edition of Swinburne’s masterpiece, Atalanta in Calydon, and other private press editions.

Admission free.  20 page illustrated exhibition guide, £4.50.  All enquiries to library@balliol.ox.ac.uk

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