Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
Oil on canvas
support: 762 x 1118 mm, frame: 1105 x 1458 x 145 mm
Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Beloved ('The Bride'), 1865-6
Oil on canvas
support: 825 x 762 mm, frame: 1220 x 1110 x 83 mm
Purchased with assistance from Sir Arthur Du Cros Bt and Sir Otto Beit KCMG through the Art Fund 1916
12 September 2012 – 13 January 2013.
Source: Tate Britain
Led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelites rebelled against the art establishment of their day. Their unflinchingly radical style, inspired by the purity of early Renaissance painting, defied convention, provoked critics and entranced audiences.
Today, renowned for their exquisitely detailed, vividly coloured style, the works of the Pre-Raphaelites are among the best known of all English paintings. This exhibition traces developments from their formation in 1848 through to their late Symbolist creations of the 1890s. It shows that whether their subjects were taken from modern life or literature, the New Testament or classical mythology, the Pre-Raphaelites were committed to the idea of art’s potential to change society.
"Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde" offers the chance to see well-known paintings such as Ophelia 1851-2 (Tate) by John Everett Millais (1829-1896) and The Scapegoat 1854-5 (National Museums Liverpool) by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910). Highlights include masterpieces rarely seen in the UK such as Rossetti’s "Found" 1854-5/1859-81 (Delaware Art Museum, USA), Burne-Jones’s "Perseus series" (Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart) and Holman Hunt’s psychedelic "The Lady of Shalott" 1886-1905 (Wadsworth Atheneum, Connecticut). Spectacular late works by Hunt, Millais, Rossetti and Madox Brown are also united for the exhibition.
In contrast to previous Pre-Raphaelite surveys, this exhibition juxtaposes paintings with works in other media including textiles, stained glass and furniture, showing the influence of Pre-Raphaelitism in the early development of the Arts and Crafts movement and the socialist ideas of the poet, designer and theorist, William Morris (1834-1896). Bringing together furniture and objects designed by Morris‘s firm, of which many Pre-Raphaelite artists were part, it demonstrates how Morris’s iconography for British socialism ultimately evolved out of Pre-Raphaelitism. Highlights include Philip Webb and Burne-Jones’s The Prioress’s Tale wardrobe 1858 and the embroideries made by Jane and May Morris for William Morris’s bed at Kelmscott Manor c1891.