The Sting of Passion : International Jewellery Artists Respond to the Pre-Raphaelite Collection

Wednesday 17th June 2009

11 July – 25 October 2009 Manchester Art Gallery Free entry

A new exhibition of contemporary jewellery by 12 up-and-coming international jewellery artists opens at Manchester Art Gallery this July. Curated by Manchester-based jewellery artist Jo Bloxham, the exhibition features new conceptual works of jewellery by artists from as far afield as the USA and Mexico. All the works on display have been inspired by Pre-Raphaelite paintings from Manchester Art Gallery’s prestigious collections.

The paintings have all been selected by the exhibition curator, Jo Bloxham and include Pre-Raphaelite favourites such as Arthur Hughes’ Ophelia and Rossetti’s The Bower Meadow and Astarte Syriaca. The works portray women as a femme fatale, a seductress, and in some cases, purely as an object of beauty. Bloxham comments that each of the jewellers has responded individually, the works have provoked some strong reactions, and astonishing results:

“The jewellers have created an exciting body of work using a diverse selection of materials, from gold and garnets to concrete and broken glass. The Sting of Passion is an opportunity to explore an area of jewellery design rarely seen in the UK.”

Polish jeweller, Arek Wolski has added modern irony to his work for Eve Tempted by John Stanhope. Playing on words, Wolski has created a t-shirt brooch, changing the phrase ‘Last Forever’ to a more cynical ‘Lust Forever’.

French jeweller, Benjamin Lignel found The Bower Meadow by Dante Gabriel Rossetti deeply unsettling. Lignel says “Here are the real desperate housewives: typecast for maximum excitement. Rossetti’s dancing beauties live the test-tube lives of neutered she-monsters in a tree-lined water-tank.”

Nanna Melland from Germany has created a fine, gold chain, to sit around the waist of Rossetti’s Astarte Syriaca in the form of a new girdle.

The curator of the exhibition Jo Bloxham will be giving a free talk at Manchester Art Gallery on Saturday 19 September, 1.30 – 2pm. To book a place, please call 0161 235 8888 or email

Contributing artists to The Sting of Passion will also be talking about their work at a one-day jewellery symposium at The 1830 Warehouse, MOSI Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester on 10 July, 10-5pm. For information and to book a place, email

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure commented:
“The city’s collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings really is outstanding – one of the best in the world. It’s great to see this talented curator using some of Manchester’s artistic gems as the inspiration for her latest exhibition and raising the profile of the gallery’s collections both in the city and in the nations where the contributing artists live and work.”

The Sting of Passion is at Manchester Art Gallery from 11 July – 25 October 2009. Entry is free. For more information visit or call 0161 235 8888.


For further information and images, please contact Jenny Davies, Communications Manager, Manchester Art Gallery.

Tel: 0161 235 8864 or

Issued 15 June 2009.

Notes to Editors
Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
Tel: 0161 235 8888
Textphone: 0161 235 8893

Open Tuesday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays, 10am – 5pm
Closed Monday (except Bank Holidays)
Free entry.

The Sting of Passion has been supported by Manchester City Council, Marketing Manchester and the Arts Council of England Lottery Fund.