The Pre-Raphaelites and mid-Victorian art

The era of Darwin, Tennyson, Dickens, labor laws, the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement.

c. 1848 - 1870

Beginner's guide

The Pre-Raphaelites and the Aesthetic movement were each, in their own way, reacting to the consequences of the industrial revolution.

videos + essays

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Ford Madox Brown, <em>The Last of England</em>
Ford Madox Brown, The Last of England

The Last of England is a poignant reminder of the journey made by millions of people during the 19th century.

William Holman Hunt, <em>Isabella or the Pot of Basil</em>
William Holman Hunt, Isabella or the Pot of Basil

Throughout his career, Hunt stayed close to the aesthetic of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in his attention to detail and insistence on narrative content.

A Portrait of John Ruskin and Masculine Ideals of Dress in the Nineteenth Century
A Portrait of John Ruskin and Masculine Ideals of Dress in the Nineteenth Century

The contrast between the dark menswear and the ornate womenswear of the 19th century helped to cast women as accessories of their fathers or husbands.

Sleeping Beauty — but without the Kiss: Burne-Jones and the Briar Rose series
Sleeping Beauty — but without the Kiss: Burne-Jones and the Briar Rose series

A princess falls under a spell and sleeps for a hundred years — but Burne-Jones never shows us the kiss that awakens her.

The Aesthetic Movement
The Aesthetic Movement

This controversial new movement claimed that art could be divorced from moral or narrative content.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, <em>Beata Beatrix</em>
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Beata Beatrix

In this tragic painting, Rossetti draws a comparison between himself and the medieval poet who shared his name.

Curator’s choice – Ford Madox Brown’s <em>Work</em>
Curator’s choice – Ford Madox Brown’s Work

Visually and politically radical, Work provides a visualization of the English social classes.

Curator’s choice – Millais’s <em>Isabella</em>
Curator’s choice – Millais’s Isabella

Made when he was nineteen, this painting by Millais was a pictorial manifesto for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

William Butterfield, All Saints, Margaret Street, London
William Butterfield, All Saints, Margaret Street, London

Fossiliferous stone, many-colored mosaics, and banded bricks: meaning is in the material in this Victorian church.

William Morris and Philip Webb, Red House
William Morris and Philip Webb, Red House

Morris and his friends designed and crafted every inch of his house, including the wallpaper and furniture.

John William Waterhouse, <em>The Lady of Shalott</em>
John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott

Cursed by a spell that will kill her if she leaves her castle, this romantic redhead takes a fatal boat ride.

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, <em>Hope</em>
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Hope

A beautiful female figure reveals the contrasts between the confines of bondage and the audacity of hope.

Selected Contributors