• 17 November 2017
  • 12:30 – 2:30 pm
  • Panel Discussion and Publication Launch
  • Lecture Room

On the occasion of the publication of Frederick Walker and the Idyllists, by Donato Esposito, Lund Humphries presents a panel discussion of the work of these neglected artists. Chaired by Mark Hallett.

Donato Esposito's book is the first book in over a century to examine the important work of the watercolour artist and illustrator Frederick Walker (1840–1875) and his closest artistic allies. He was greatly admired (and collected) by Vincent van Gogh and was described by Millais as ‘the greatest artist of the century’ and yet his premature death at the age of 35 cut short his promising career. Walker, together with his close friends George John Pinwell (1842–1875) and John William North (1842–1924), forged new artistic identities that sought the perfection of the world around them and the distillation of beauty from seemingly mundane subjects.

Donato Esposito and his fellow panel members will discuss the lives and works of the core members of Walker’s group, charting their unconventional journey from a loosely bound collective rooted in the London-based black-and-white world of commercial illustration to a renowned grouping known as the Idyllists, respected and eagerly collected by galleries and private individuals in Europe, America and Australia. The aim of the discussion is to restore the Idyllists to their rightful place in the history of British 19th-century art.


Donato Esposito is an academic and curator who specialises in 18th- and 19th-century art, collecting and taste. From 1999 to 2004 he worked as Curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum and was a 2012–13 Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He is the author of Frederick Walker and the Idyllists (Lund Humphries, 2017)

Prof. Liz Prettejohn is Professor of History of Art, York University. Her publications include Beauty and Art 1750–2000 (2005), The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites (2007) and The Modernity of Ancient Sculpture: Greek Sculpture and Modern Art from Winckelmann to Picasso (2012).

Paul Goldman is Honorary Professor, English Literature at Cardiff University. He is the author of Victorian Illustration: The Pre-Raphaelites, The Idyllic School and High Victorian Artists (1996/2004), John Everett Millais: Illustrator and Narrator (2004) and Master Prints Close Up (2012).


Mark Hallet is the Director of Studies at The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. He worked previously in the University of York History of Art Department, where he was Head of Department between 2007 and 2012. His publications include Hogarth (2000) and Reynolds: Portraiture in Action (2014).