164 years ago, at about this time in September 1848, a group of precocious young artists and writers met in secret to draw up a manifesto and declare themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

1 of 5
  • 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

    View the main page for this artwork

  • Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, 'Ophelia' 1851-2

    Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
    Ophelia 1851-2
    Oil on canvas
    support: 762 x 1118 mm frame: 1105 x 1458 x 145 mm
    Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894

    View the main page for this artwork

  • William Holman Hunt, 'The Awakening Conscience' 1853

    William Holman Hunt
    The Awakening Conscience 1853
    Oil on canvas
    support: 762 x 559 mm frame: 1060 x 857 x 97 mm
    Presented by Sir Colin and Lady Anderson through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1976

    View the main page for this artwork

  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 'Monna Vanna' 1866

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    Monna Vanna 1866
    Oil on canvas
    support: 889 x 864 mm frame: 1290 x 1168 x 92 mm
    Purchased with assistance from Sir Arthur Du Cros Bt and Sir Otto Beit KCMG through the Art Fund 1916

    View the main page for this artwork

  • Henry Wallis, 'Chatterton' 1856

    Henry Wallis
    Chatterton 1856
    Oil on canvas
    support: 622 x 933 mm frame: 905 x 1205 x 132 mm
    Bequeathed by Charles Gent Clement 1899

    View the main page for this artwork

The anniversary is being celebrated by the Pre-Raphaelite Society tomorrow (8 Septermber), who will be posting quotes and facts about the group all day on Twitter and are asking people to vote for their favourite Pre-Raphaelite painting using the hashtag #PRBday.

The blue plaque at 7 Gower Street celebrating the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

The blue plaque at 7 Gower Street celebrating the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood


© Derek Kendall, English Heritage

The location of the meeting is now marked by a blue plaque at 7 Gower Street in London, halfway between the British Museum and University College London. It was the family home of John Everett Millais, then only 19. His parents had moved to the capital from Jersey ten years before to give their talented son the opportunity to attend the Royal Academy.

The other two core members were painters William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who were sharing a studio in nearby Cleveland Street, as well as James Collinson, Thomas Woolner, Frederic George Stephens and William Michael Rossetti. You will be able to see many of the Pre-Raphaelites’ greatest works in the major exhibition opening at Tate Britain next week. 

The group was initially secretive, refusing to explain the initials PRB marked on their paintings, and was self-consciously rebellious, setting themselves against the art establishment of the day; one of the reasons the group are considered one of the first British modern art movements.

Celebrate the anniversary by tweeting your favourite Pre-Raphaelite painting using the tag #PRBday, or log in and let us know in the comments below.

You can find lots of images at Tate’s Pinterest page, or also join the discussion on Tate’s Facebook page or @Tate on Twitter - please use the tag #PreRaph

Travel to Russia in July 2013, and visit the Pre-Raphaelites at Moscow’s Pushkin Museum in the company of co-curator Dr Jason Rosenfeld. For more information please visit Tate Travels.

Comments

Roma

It has to be The Awakening Conscience for me. I was once told that if it is hung next to "The Light of the World" it makes perfect, suddenly this lady on hearing Christ knock on her door, realizes what she is doing and what she has become. It's a powerful image when viewed together.

Roma

It has to be The Awakening Conscience for me. I was once told that if it is hung next to "The Light of the World" it makes perfect sense, as suddenly this lady on hearing Christ knock on her door, realizes what she is doing and what she has become. It's a powerful image when viewed together.

kebabette

My favourite is Burne-Jones Chant d'amour. It is all mystery and romance.
I am over in New Zealand so alas will miss this incredible exhibition - but it's wonderful how much excellent stuff you are putting online. I made a set of articles and images on DigitalNZ showing some Pre-Raphaelite stuff in New Zealand collections http://digitalnz.org/user_sets/505be0aa125757194a000019

Susanne E.

My favorite of the Pre-raphaelite paintings in the Tate is Millais' Mariana. Not only can I get lost in the profound melancholy that is expressed in the figure as well as in the surrounding symbols, but it is also painted painted brilliantly. The blue of Mariana's dress - I have never seen anything like it! I would come back to London just to see this painting.

An occasional v...

A very powerful demonstration of the importance of the Pre-Raphaelites,only let down by some of the details for a visitor's expereience.
I do not know if a member of the Tate's staff walks through as a visitor.
Come in the Main entrance with a pre-boioked ticket and where do you go?
No signage to the gallery to be seen - the only indication is a high up poster above the staircase, possibly obscured by the building column onb yoiur left.
Go up the stairs and stop again as all the signage is to the BP exhibition unless you know t5o turn left.
Go into the first gallery and whilst the paintings are on the walls, corridors are formed vin front by th additional display cabinets and with no directional signage, there is confusion as people try to go both ways round in the same corridor space.
It is a busy exhibition, so the taller people stand behind those who are smaller, but can they see the labels - with difficulty due to the smallness of the print and the height of the labels on the walls where there are hidden at head height for smaller people.
i appreciate that the lighting in the other galleries is fixed at high level, certainly on some of the taller glass faced paintings, it was impossible to see them properly without going back further than halfway accross the gallery.
So the experience could be better if more notice was taken of the dynamics of vistors and how they behave in such circumstances, and in those who know the Tate well putting themselves in the position of unfamiliar visitors.