I’d meant to write about historical mysteries– of the fictional kind, not the “who killed the Princes in the Tower?” variety– but a funny thing happened to me as I was browsing through my Facebook feed in the wee hours this past Sunday.
Nope, not those cartoon e-cards that have been making the rounds (although some of them are, indeed, funny), but this article in The Guardian, about a Pre-Raphalitie painting that was recently discovered in a house in a suburb in London, hidden behind an old wardrobe.
Why funny? My next book (A Summer Engagement, available from St. Martin’s Press in May 2014), which is already entirely finished and in copyedits, is about a lost Pre-Raphaelite painting being discovered hidden behind an old wardrobe in a house in a suburb of London.
Cue the Twilight Zone music here….
It’s not a direct one on one match-up. In the real-life version, the house in the suburb of London was the home of William Morris, so one might reasonably expect to find the odd bit of Pre-Raph ephemera lurking behind the wallpaper (or the wardrobe), whereas in mine, the house is inherited by my modern heroine, who has no idea, until she finds the painting, that there are Pre-Raphaelites in her past (or behind the wardrobe). In my version, the painting is an oil painting on canvas; in the real life version, it’s a mural.
Pre-Raph fan girl squee moment: they think the recently discovered mural was painted as a group project by Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Lizzy Siddal, Ford Maddox Brown, and Morris. Does it get any better than that?
In my version, I invented an extra member of the original Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, Gavin Thorne, close friends with Rossetti and Millais.
But, still: lost Pre-Raph painting, wardrobe, house in London. Truth imitates fiction?
Have you ever read or written something and then seen it come true?