Student Spotlight: Virginia Lefler, Recipient of a Carol Bird Ravenal Award

Virginia (Ginny) Lefler, a second year Master’s student in the Art History program, received a Carol Bird Ravenal Award for international travel to help fund her research trip to London. Below, Ginny shares her experience with us:

“While in England I visited London, Birmingham, and Oxford in order to see several collections of Pre-Raphaelite artwork from the second half of the nineteenth century. For my thesis research I am primarily focusing on a set of Morris and Company tapestries from the 1890s, which are housed at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and depict King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail. While the tapestries themselves are in permanent storage, I was able to see several preliminary sketches and other Pre-Raphaelite works in the museum’s collection. I also visited Oxford to see the Oxford Union Murals, a cycle from 1857 that also depicts the quest for the Grail. The Arthurian Revival in Victorian England was a major theme explored by the Pre-Raphaelites, and so many of their paintings, prints, and drawings depict scenes of King Arthur and his knights. In London I spent time at the William Morris Gallery, which owns many of Morris’s early works, and also visited most of the major museums in the city to see as much Pre-Raphaelite work that I could. In all, the trip was an incredible experience: I was able to study the works in person and to develop a fuller understanding of how and why they were made.”

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