Waiting for the Verdict and the Liverpool Academy

Waiting for the Verdict, Abraham Solomon's impressive picture of 1857, was the centre of a great battle between the supporters of the Pre-Raphaelites and their detractors. The Liverpool Academy, founded in 1810 and as such one of the oldest art corporations, had between 1851 and 1856 awarded their annual prize to Pre-Raphaelite pictures five times out of six. When in 1857 The Blind Girl by Millais won, the traditionalists supported Solomon's Waiting for the Verdict, and there was much discussion in the press. The Athenium weighed in on the side of Solomon, at which John Ruskin staunchly supported the Pre-Raphaelite picture, writing that the award to Millais 'was the first instance on record of the entirely just and beneficial working of the academical system'. More arguments followed, and the following year the Liverpool Academy showed their defiance of opposing opinion by selecting for their prize another Pre-Raphaelite work, by Ford Madox Brown. Incensed, Liverpool town council cut off funding to the Academy, and within 10 years the body had run out of money and ceased exhibiting.

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