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.
Places: Under the Hill