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.
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 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.
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.