The Pre-Raphaelites, definitely beautiful and most certainly rebellious!

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The English Boy, 1860, Ford Madox Brown © Manchester City Galleries The English Boy, 1860, Ford Madox Brown © Manchester City Galleries

The countdown has begun to the opening of our breath-taking exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion on 12 February at the Walker Art Gallery. Installation of the works is underway and the excitement is building..

Among the 120 paintings to be displayed are familiar faces including Manchester Art Gallery’s The English Boy and Rossetti’s glorious Monna Vanna from the collection at Tate.  There’s also wonderful pictures by local artists who were influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite ideals. Burd Helen by William L. Windus (pictured below) and painted in 1856, is a lovely example, and was described by John Ruskin as “a great Pre-Raphaelite painting”, he went on to state it was “thoughtful and intense to the highest imaginative power”.

The exhibition contains works that, at first glance, may not seem to fit into the typical Pre-Raphaelite style. Take the painting, Old Mill and Pool at Ditton, Lancashire (pictured below) by Liverpool based artist William Davis. A quick glimpse and it’s a mid-Victorian landscape. However, spend some time and examine it closely, and you’ll notice the minute attention to detail and accuracy so beloved by artists such as Holman Hunt or Ford Madox Brown.

Old Mill and pool at Ditton, 1860-1864, William Davis © National Museums Liverpool Old Mill and pool at Ditton, 1860-1864, William Davis © National Museums Liverpool

Herein lies the point of the exhibition. It’s not just works by the more famous artists or the images associated with them. The exhibition will focus on the role Liverpool played in the Pre-Raphaelite movement. It’ll be looking at how local merchants became great patrons of the London based Pre-Raphaelite painters, and how these in turn, influenced a generation of local artists such as Windus or Davis.

The exhibition runs until 5 June 2016 - you can find out more and buy tickets on our website.

If all of that isn’t exciting enough, we will also have lots of Pre-Raphaelite events running, with everything from life drawing to lectures on offer. 

Our Visitor Hosts will be leading exhibition tours on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout the period. Tours are £5 and are only available with an exhibition ticket - you can buy your exhibition ticket and book your tour online. Please note each tour is limited to 15 people, so be quick to book!

For more information about group tours please call 0151 478 4191 or email us on tours@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

Burd Helen, 1856, William Lindsay Windus © National Museums Liverpool Burd Helen, 1856, William Lindsay Windus © National Museums Liverpool