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  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti Lady Lilith 1866–8
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    Lady Lilith 1866–8
  • Edward Coley Burne-Jones Laus Veneris 1873–8
    Edward Coley Burne-Jones
    Laus Veneris 1873–8
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 'The Beloved ('The Bride')' 1865-6
    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
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti Astarte Syriaca 1877
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    Astarte Syriaca 1877
  • Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, 'Ophelia' 1851-2
    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
    Ophelia 1851-2
  • Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, 'Mariana' 1851
    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
    Mariana 1851

The Pre-Raphaelites were one of the first modern art movements, a major exhibition at Tate Britain this autumn will argue.

Curator Alison Smith said the 19th-century group, ‘self-consciously reacted against convention, against orthodoxy and established a new benchmark for modern painting both in Britain and internationally. The movement was invented in Britain and spread abroad. It is the one time when a British art movement changes the world.’

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.

As well as tackling controversial social issues – the seemingly innocent girl in Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience is actually the young man’s mistress, soon to be discarded and potentially ruined – the Pre-Raphaelites took a radical approach to technique, brightening colours and working outdoors a decade before the impressionists.

Despite the ongoing popularity of the movement – Millais’s Ophelia is one of the best-loved paintings in Tate’s collection – this will be the first major survey of their work for almost 30 years. It will bring together over 150 works, including masterpieces rarely seen in the UK, such as Holman Hunt’s psychedelic The Lady of Shalott from the United States.

The exhibition will also bring together objects designed by members of the movement, showing the important role they played in the early development of the arts and crafts movement. A highlight of the show will be William Morris’s bed which has been kindly loaned for the first time from Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire, as well as a number of embroideries.


Has no-one commented yet? It's a great chance to see so many old favourites plus lots of new works or ones you've only seen in books - really enjoyed it! However, I thought the Holman Hunt referred to above (Lady of Shalott) was in Manchester Art Gallery, so are there two? This one really has amazing colours and is a splendid finale to the show. Pity Millais' The Bridesmaid wasn't there but otherwise a very comprehensive selection.