The WEA, Workers Educational Association was founded in 1903 to provide education for working men and women who may otherwise have missed out on it. Its socialist principles would suit Vera.
The Madonna dell'Orto, where he is buried. The church is no.12 on the map at the back of the book (Afterword p.7).
John Ruskin (1819-1900), the influential artist and art critic, was overcome with admiration for this painting, while his wife, Effie, apparently became hysterical at the sight of the tortured souls.
Vera appears to link Effie's reaction to her virginity, implying rather spitefully that they both sprang from some kind of hypersensitivity. But in contemporary accounts of the Ruskins' marriage, which was annulled in 1855 on grounds of non-consummation, it was the husband who refused to have sex with his wife. Effie later married Millais.
Giovanni Battista Cima, (1459-1516) Italian renaissance painter.