Later Pre-Raphaelite Circle

Detail from a painting showing the face of a woman with dark hair and the left side of her face in shadow

After the early 1850s the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood gradually grew apart from one another. The charismatic Rossetti began to gather a new circle around himself.

In 1856 he met Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, still undergraduates at Oxford University. With Rossetti's encouragement both embarked on artistic careers, Burne-Jones as painter, Morris as designer and poet.

The alliance produced a new social and artistic grouping, often called the 'second generation' of Pre-Raphaelitism. Rossetti himself was the crucial link between the earlier phase of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and this later grouping. Now, women played an increasingly prominent part, as artists, models, wives or lovers.

Rossetti's confidence in the talents of his friends, as well as his inspirational artistic leadership, made possible the remarkable flowering, encompassing the fine and applied arts as well as poetry, that Oscar Wilde later called the 'English Renaissance of Art'.