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Art Editorial

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A new exhibition at the Laing explores the depiction of women indoors, where they have been cast as ornamental objects.

It was rife in 19th century painting and came with sinister overtones: the idea of the ‘gilded cage’. ‘The Enchanted Interior’ at the Laing explores this premise and is built around three significant works in their collection where women are trapped – psychologically or physically – in their environments. These include: Edward Burne-Jones’ ‘Laus Veneris’ (1873-75), which shows Venus in the claustrophobic chambers of her court; John Frederick Lewis’ ‘Hharrem Life, Constantinople’ (pictured – 1857); and ‘Nele/Nellie’ (2013) by Fiona Tan, which shows the illegitimate daughter of Rembrandt Van Rijn pacing unhappily around a highly decorated house like the one she was confined in until her father’s death. Iconic Pre-Raphaelite and British Orientalist paintings will be shown alongside works by their female peers, such as Emma Sandys and Evelyn De Morgan, as well as work by contemporary artists such as Mona Hatoum and Cornelia Parker.

The Enchanted Interior, until 22 February, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle. laingartgallery.org.uk