This section of secondary sources begins with the attempts of Solomon's admirers to salvage his reputation after his death. This is followed by the memoirs of former friends of Solomon's and later historical works that mention Solomon usually in a very negative way as the 'tragedy' of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
§ M., W. "Art Notes." The Illustrated London News, 6 January 1906: 34.
ANNOTATION: The author reviews the Burlington House Winter Exhibition, citing mostly the Pre-Raphaelite works. In a short paragraph, he laments that the exhibited works by Solomon are not his best and as a result pale in comparison to other great works by Burne-Jones and Rossetti. ORIGINAL SOURCE: [Full Text]
§ Jackson, Henry E. "The Language of the Face." The Biblical World 27, no.6 (June 1906): 440-441.
Symons, Arthur. "The Painting of the Nineteenth Century." Studies in Seven Arts. London: Constable, 1906, 54-61.
ANNOTATION: Symons respected Solomon for his work. If Solomon had not been arrested, he would have rivalled Burne-Jones in the art world. Solomon's themes, styles, religious subjects, androgyny, and other topics are compared to Burne-Jones's similar work. REPRINTED: In The Bibelot 17 (April 1911): 152-58. In From Toulouse-Lautrec to Rodin, London: John Lane, 1929.
Ford, Julia Ellsworth. Simeon Solomon: An Appreciation. New York: Frederic Fairchild Sherman, 1908, 77 pp.
ANNOTATION: This monograph is a survey of Solomon's visual work, primarily after his arrest, although occasionally she inaccurately dates early illustrations as post-1870s. Historically Ford's work is important as the first monograph dealing exclusively with Solomon as an artist and poet based on her interviews with him and his contemporaries. Included is his famous self-description, "A History of Simeon Solomon, From the Cradle to His Grave," cited in many later studies. Ford interprets the 23 sepia-toned reproductions of his works, along with others she has seen. She introduces excerpts from A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep, explaining the prose-poem as complementing his paintings and drawings to exemplify Platonic love and the Biblical Song of Songs. Nowhere in the text does she address his arrest, nor does she see any of the androgyny or homoeroticism his contemporaries identified and others today see in his work.
Bate, Percy. "A Note on the Art of Simeon Solomon." Catalogue of Platinotype Reproductions of Pictures &c. Photographed and Sold by Mr. Hollyer No. 9 Pembroke Sqr., London, W. [London: Frederick Hollyer], 1909, 24-27.
ANNOTATION: Bate focuses on Solomon's mysticism and considers his works of the 1860s to show him as a master in color and draftsmanship. Repeating his 1899 chapter, he places Solomon in the context of the romantic Pre-Raphaelites of the second phase who had little to do with the original Brotherhood. With over 100 Solomon reproductions available for purchase, 38 are listed here, four of which are illustrated.
Mosher, Thomas B. Foreword to A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep by Simeon Solomon 1871. Portland, ME: T. B. Mosher Press, 1909, [i-ii], 64 pp.
ANNOTATION: Mosher criticizes Ross's 1905 biographical article from the Academy and prefers to let Solomon's original unexplained intentions stand without interpretation. This limited edition of 50 copies includes a reprint of Symonds's 1871 review. REPRINTED: New York: AMS Press, n.d. (ca.1985). ORIGINAL SOURCE: [Full Text]
Browning, Oscar. Memories of Sixty Years at Eton, Cambridge and Elsewhere. London: John Lane, 1910, 106-109, 182.
ANNOTATION: Browning is among the very few who was "proud to acknowledge that [Solomon] was one of my friends." References to their homosexual interactions are suggested. Pater, for instance, had "nothing romantic or sentimental about him; the sacred flame which burnt within him was concealed." Browning and Solomon travelled to Italy for Solomon to paint Melchizedek. The painting, however, was never executed because Solomon met an Italian boy. Solomon was enamored with Titian's work. Browning recalls a reunion years later when Solomon was a street-artist. Includes Solomon's portrait of Browning at age 28.
Wilson, Leulla M. "Simeon Solomon--A Dreamer of Dreams." Fine Arts Journal 25 (September 1911): 162-66.
ANNOTATION: Following the path of Ross and Ford, Wilson attempts to rescue Solomon's career by writing a sympathetic portrait and praising his later works for their original symbols and mystical, dreamlike self-interpretations. She writes from a personal perspective, having discovered Solomon's works in the art shop of a Mr. Thomas on Oxford Street. Thomas provides most of her background information, including a tale that Solomon's great downfall began when a young woman rejected his proposal of marriage. There are illustrations of six chalk drawings.
M-L., E. "Solomon, Simeon (1840-1905)." The Dictionary of National Biography; Supplement January 1901-December 1911. Vol. 1. Ed. Sidney Lee. London: Spottiswoode & Co., Ltd.; Smith, Elder & Co., 1912, 354-55.
ANNOTATION: His life from childhood to death is followed by an exhibition history of some of his more famous paintings and illustrations, and a short list of private and public collections housing his works at that time. § UPDATED ANNOTATION: 30 Oct 2000 - Thanks to Louis Godnout for bringing additional information to my attention. Around 1998, C. R. Johnson Rare Books offered for sale a collection of papers related to the DNB article on Solomon cited here. It identifies the author as Everard Meynell. The collection included five drafts of the original manuscript by Meynell and letters written by him and former friends of Solomon's (e.g. W. M. Rossetti), with comments on him after his death. From the original description of the merchandise for sale, the owner provided some highlights, some of which shed some light on Solomon's life after 1873. I would like to thank Chris at C. R. Johnson Rare Books for permission to quote from the original description. To read this excerpt, please click here.
Holiday, Henry. Reminiscences of My Life. London: W. Heinemann, 1914, 476 pp.
ANNOTATION: One of Solomon's closest friends in their youth, Holiday now apologizes for having to include him in the memoirs. Despite his infamy, he was an important part of Holiday's past. Holiday provides most entertaining insight into Solomon's early years as an art student, revealing his impish personality and witticisms. Stories include their starting a Sketching Club in the late 1850s, trips together to Wales, Solomon's introducing Holiday to Burne-Jones, and the composition of Solomon's treatise on astronomy.
Williamson, G. C. Murray Marks and His Friends. London: J. Lane Co., 1919, 156-63.
ANNOTATION: This intriguing account of Solomon's tragic life extends from his brilliant early years as an accomplished artist, to the gradual decline after 1870, ending as an impoverished artist and dying in the street (here misdated). Marks was among those who attempted to save Solomon; he and others would purchase and then destroy his later works "because they were evil in design and horrible in appearance." The illustration of Night and Sleep (1888) is here entitled Angel Faces.
Stirling, A. M. W. The Richmond Papers, From the Correspondence and Manuscripts of George Richmond, R.A., and His Son Sir William Richmond, R.A., K.C.B. London: W. Heinemann, 1926, 160-61, 272.
ANNOTATION: William Blake Richmond describes in his memoirs a most enlightening contemporary portrait of Solomon, capturing his mysticism as a Jew and pagan, his ebullient personality, and his zeal for artistry. Both were friends in the late 1850s, and Richmond is complimentary towards him and his Hebraic art. Richmond tells a story about Solomon finding an Italian boy to model for him and others in their circle. This may be the same Italian mentioned by Browning. § UPDATED ANNOTATION: 26 February 2001 - This model could also be Gaetano Meo, the Italian found by Solomon in the street playing the harp, according to Alison Smith (1996).
Reid, Forrest. Illustrators of the Sixties. London: Faber & Gwyer, Ltd., 1928, 1-2, 103-104.
ANNOTATION: Focusing on his engravings of contemporary Jewish life, Reid praises Solomon's artistic individuality and names Rembrandt as an influence. Solomon's work transcends the "sensuous idealism of Rossetti," though his later work has a "cloying idealism." However, Reid pities Solomon's wasted genius. Includes illustrations of The Feast of Dedication and The Fast of Jerusalem.
Welby, T. Earle. The Victorian Romantics 1850-1870: The Early Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Burne-Jones, Swinburne, Simeon Solomon and Their Associates. London: Howe, 1929, 52-61.
ANNOTATION: Despite his inclusion of Solomon in the title of this work, Welby spends less than ten pages discussing him. His tone is condescending. Solomon revealed potential in his early work, but by 1870 he had reverted to controversial and depraved subjects and ultimately harkened his own downfall even within Bohemian artistic circles. Includes an illustration of The Two Sleepers and the One That Watcheth and a facsimile of a 15 May 1871 letter from Solomon to Swinburne.
Binyon, Laurence. English Water-Colours. London: A. & C. Black, 1933, 186.
ANNOTATION: Binyon recognizes Solomon's inordinate talent for "ceremonial spirituality" and "sensuous beauty," but declares his talent wasted. ORIGINAL SOURCE: [Full Text]
§ Winwar, Frances. Poor Splendid Wings: The Rossettis and Their Circle. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1933, 182-184, 241-242, 325-328, et al.
ANNOTATION: Winwar's flowery prose and unanswered critical questions provide an interesting perspective of Solomon in his relationship with Swinburne. She describes Solomon early on as a ephebe and Greek god, a virgin waiting to be plucked under Swinburne's influence. She ultimately equates him with a demon, however: "As once, in the beginning of things, Lucifer fell from too much pride, Simeon, at the height of his creative power, walked already on the downward path." She should be noted for being one of the first to mention his arrest, for "pederasty" as she writes, and she ends by describing his ultimate fall from society, living in the streets of Whitechapel and Houndsditch in London.
Falk, Bernard. "The Tragedy of Simeon Solomon: Fall from Grace." Five Years Dead: A Postscript to "He Laughed in Fleet Street." London: Hutchinson, 1937, 15-16, 311-31.
ANNOTATION: Falk's chapter was considered by William Fredeman (1965) to be the most detailed account on Solomon. In retrospect, while detailed, it lacks supporting evidence and should not be taken verbatim. Falk's prose style evinces his career as a sensationalist newspaper journalist. Solomon is depicted as a conniver, fooling such friends as Ross into sympathizing him. Included among the illustrations is a rare photo of a mature Solomon working on a painting. The chapter is developed from news articles for the London Evening News in 1904 and 1905, but first written when he knew Solomon in the 1890s.
§ Burke, Thomas. "The Strange Case of Simeon Solomon." Lilliput Magazine (1944): 38-40.
ANNOTATION: Gaunt compares Solomon and Swinburne to the French symbolist poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud, although the discussion is limited to the "aesthetic" incidents in their lives and works; one can infer, however, a biographical, homosexual comparison. Gaunt's description of Solomon is among the most colourful, because he considers Solomon to be the first tragedy of the Aesthetic movement.
Ross, Margery, ed. Robert Ross, Friend of Friends: Letters to Robert Ross, Art Critic and Writer. London: Cape, 1952, 33-34, 256-257, 315.
ANNOTATION: The reference to an unnamed Count in the editor's undated letter from Solomon to Ross about a drawing he had done for him suggests an 1880s letter referring to Count Stenbock. Two other letters are by Edmund Gosse, the first thanking Ross for some of Solomon's drawings, the second responding to Ross's inquiry regarding the circumstances of Solomon's arrest and Swinburne's actions afterwards. Gosse notes that the 1873 arrest was not Solomon's "first lapse" and that he was forced to leave England around 1870, the date of his last trip to Italy.
ANNOTATION: Lang publishes the largest number of Solomon's letters. He discusses Solomon and Swinburne's relationship in the prefatory pages. The letters are either Solomon's to Swinburne or letters from Swinburne to others with reference to Solomon. No letters by Swinburne to Solomon are extant. The letters reveal some of Solomon's activities, particularly 1869-72, including his interest in the Boulton and Park trials for transvestitism, his sharing flagellation stories with Swinburne, and his asking Swinburne to write a review of his prose-poem for Dark Blue.
This web site was created by Dr Carolyn Conroy and Dr Roberto C. Ferrari, and is therefore copyrighted by law. All digital images were reproduced with the permission of the owners; distribution rights for these works rests with the individuals who own the original work of art. All secondary source material reproduced here is protected by copyright with the author or publisher of the original source. The only exception to this rule are the items made available that are in the public domain. The rules of fair use apply if you wish to use any information from this site for non-profit educational purposes.