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  • Writer's picturekatebilbow

Victorian Occult and Spiritualism

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

While on Pinterest I discovered this painting, The Silent Voice, by Gerald Moira, or rather, without realising, the black-and-white photograph captured in 1898. I fell in love with the tone and transparency in the haunting piece. I made a transcript in Pitt Artist brush pens.

Knowing that someone must have written about this painting, I delved into its history and found that rather than a black and white painting, The Silent Voice had been painted in these beautiful rich blues and browns.

I found that the painting illustrates a stanza from Alfred Tennyson's, The Two Voices:

Thereto the silent voice replied;

“Self-blinded are you by your pride:

Look up thro’ night: the world is wide.

I was really captivated by the idea of guiding spirits; a faded and free-formed but firm figure, offering advice and comfort to those in need.

I started looking to the discovery and fixation with the supernatural in the Victorian Era, when this late Pre-Raphaelite painting was made. It seems that, due to the close proximity with death in the Era, it was believed that spirits lingered and surrounded the living. I found this wonderfully evocative excerpt by Hilary Mantel which depicts the Victorian relationship with the dead.

While still preliminary, I would love to delve deeper into this topic and possibly make work around a facet of Victorian Occult. I have a feeling my visual style would lend itself well to the theme!

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