'Suzanne Fagence Cooper's meticulously researched and yet touchingly personal memoir of Effie Gray is a joy to read. We know so much about Ruskin and Millais – so little about the most influential woman in their lives. Miserably married to the first and triumphantly to the second, Effie's story is emblematic of the struggle of Victorian women who had to survive without the outlets, opportunities or rights that were afforded to men. Her trail-blazing life makes a wonderful, rich book.'
'I cannot recommend Fagence Cooper's biography of Effie Gray more highly to anyone with a heart, a liking for a good read and an interest in things Victorian.'
The Literary Review
Dr. Suzanne Fagence Cooper was educated at Merton College, Oxford, Christie's Education and the Courtald Institute before becoming the Victoria & Albert Museum Research Fellow at Buckinghamshire New University in 1999. Her involvement with the V&A dates back to 1996, when she was appointed curator, and in 2001 she co-curated the V&A's major exhibition 'The Victorian Vision'.
Suzanne's published work includes the book Victorian Women (V&A Publications, 2001) and two essays for the book that supported the exhibition 'The Victorian Vision' in 2002. Her book Pre-Raphaelite Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A Publications, 2003) brought together objects normally dispersed around the museum to examine the relationship between the V&A and this group of Victorian artists.
Her renowned knowledge of Victorian art and culture has led to numerous broadcast appearances. She has been interviewed for BBC Radio 4, the BBC World Service, and the television programme Victorians Roadshow (BBC2), and has worked as a consultant for the programmes What the Victorians Did for Us, (BBC2), presented by Adam Hart-Davis, and Simon Schama's series History of Britain (BBC2). She has also given many public lectures, including regularly on Cunard's Queen Mary II, as part of the Oxford University Discovery programme.
Suzanne lives between London and York with her husband and two daughters.
Rights : Quercus, Hachette UK (UKCexC)
'To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, religion, all in one'
John Ruskin - born 200 years ago, in February 1819 - was the greatest critic of his age: a critic not only of art and architecture but of society and life. But his writings - on beauty and truth, on work and leisure, on commerce and capitalism, on life and how to live it - can teach us more than ever about how to see the world around us clearly and how to live it.
Dr Suzanne Fagence Cooper delves into Ruskin's writings and uncovers the dizzying beauty and clarity of his vision. Whether he was examining the exquisite carvings of a medieval cathedral or the mass-produced wares of Victorian industry, chronicling the beauties of Venice and Florence or his own descent into old age and infirmity, Ruskin saw vividly the glories and the contradictions of life, and taught us how to see them as well.
Rights : Duckworth (WR). St. Martin's Press (NA), Neri Pozzi (Italian)
The love story that inspired the film starring Dakota Fanning and Emma Thompson.
The Scottish beauty Effie Gray is the heroine of a great Victorian love story. Married at 19 to John Ruskin, she found herself trapped in an unconsummated union. She would fall in love with her husband’s protégé, John Everett Millais, and inspire some of his most memorable art, but controversy and tragedy continued to stalk her.
Suzanne Fagence Cooper has gained exclusive access to Effie’s family letters and diaries to show the rise and fall of the Pre-Raphaelite circle from a new perspective, through the eyes of a woman whose charm and ambition helped to shape the careers of both her husbands. Effie Gray is a compelling portrait of the extraordinary woman behind some of the greatest paintings of the Victorian era.