James Collinson


Contributions to The Germ:

The Child Jesus

Collinson was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, to a bookseller. A student at the Royal Academy school, he exhibited "The Charity Boy's Debut" there in 1847, attracting the friendship of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and later William Holman Hunt.

One of the original seven Pre-Raphaelite Brothers, Collinson had recently embraced Catholicism, and grew increasingly disinterested in art, resigning shortly after the demise of The Germ. He retreated to Stonyhurst, where he lived in seclusion until his 1854 marriage to a friend of J. R. Herbert, RA. Collinson eventually resumed painting, but his subjects were now of a domestic and humorous character. He continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and the Society of British Artists (of which he was a fellow until 1880).

According to William Michael Rossetti, Collinson was one of Christina Rossetti's two suitors (the other was Charles Bagot Cayley, a translator of Dante). Ostensibly Christina Rossetti rejected him on religious grounds. This broken engagement and Collinson's defection angered William Michael Rossetti to the point of expunging him from The PRB Journal. While Collinson's 1850 letter of resignation is printed there, William Michael Rossetti's resentment is evident in his record of the PRB roster: "Hunt, Millais, Dante and William Rossetti, Stephens, Woolner, and another."