Further Reading
Education KS3+
Post Exhibition

This September the Holst Birthplace Museum, Cheltenham will present an exhibition devoted to the work of the artist Theodor von Holst (1810-1844), Gustav Holst’s great-uncle, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth.  The exhibition will feature over fifty of his works, including paintings and drawings, as well as work by two other artists who are significant to the von Holst story: Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). The works on show have been selected from the Holst Birthplace Museum, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, the Britten-Pears Library, and a number of private collectors. They include recent discoveries never displayed in public before: a beautiful portrait of a young woman, Jessy Harcourt, and a dramatic romantic scene, Caesarini and the Soldier in the Wood, from Bulwer-Lytton's novel Alice, or, The Mysteries.

Theodor von Holst: His Art and the Pre-Raphaelites will feature many of his key works, focusing mostly on his proto Pre-Raphaelite style, including his most popular work, The Bride painted two years before he died in1842. This striking portrait of a mysterious woman, her long dark hair contrasting with the burnished gold background, clearly has much in common with Rossetti’s paintings of ‘stunners.’ The exhibition also includes The Wish painted in 1841, a work which inspired Rossetti’s poem The Card Player. Other highlights in the exhibition include The Munro/Holst sketchbook, the only surviving sketchbook of the artist, and two original works by Rossetti, Illustration to the Raven and Medieval Couple in a Wood, both of which are privately owned.

Portrait of a Young Child [c.1835]

Portrait of Constantia von Holst [c.1830-35]
The Wish

As well as paintings there will also be works on paper and illustrated books. The display will be mounted in three rooms in the Holst Birthplace house, with the Regency sitting room providing an ideal setting for the larger oil paintings, and the Victorian bedroom a more intimate environment for the smaller-scale works. The exhibition is the first major show in the Holst Birthplace Museum’s history, befitting the 35th anniversary of its establishment in 2010.

Theodor von Holst: his Art and the Pre-Raphaelites has been organized by the Holst Birthplace Museum, in co-operation with Max Browne, who is the leading specialist on von Holst. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue which includes a central essay on von Holst written by Browne, as well as a family history essay placing the von Holsts in context by Laura Kinnear, Curator of the Holst Birthplace Museum.

Photographs of some the Painting at the Museum.
Exhibition Poster and Book Cover
Exhibition Panels




Holst Birthplace Museum: 4 Clarence Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52 2AY | TEL: 01242 524846
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