Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde
Combining rebellion and revivalism, scientific precision and imaginative grandeur, the Pre-Raphaelites constitute Britain’s first modern art movement. This exhibition will bring together over 150 works in different media, including painting, sculpture, photography and the applied arts, revealing the Pre-Raphaelites to be advanced in their approach to every genre. Led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) rebelled against the art establishment of the mid-nineteenth century, taking inspiration from early Renaissance painting.
The exhibition will establish the PRB as an early example of the avant-garde: painters who self-consciously overturned orthodoxy and established a new benchmark for modern painting and design. It will include many famous Pre-Raphaelite works, and will also re-introduce some rarely seen masterpieces including Ford Madox Brown’s polemical Work 1852–65 and the 1858 wardrobe designed by Philip Webb and painted by Edward Burne-Jones on the theme of The Prioress’s Tale. The exhibition will show the Pre-Raphaelite environment to be widely encompassing in its reach across the fine and decorative arts, in response to a fast-changing religious and political backdrop, and in its relationship to women practitioners.