written by Beethan Stevans
British Museum Press | ISBN 9780714150666
Hardback – 96 pages
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The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in 1848. Their artistic beliefs were set out by John Ruskin, the art historian who ardently supported them. Their chief principle was truth to nature: that a painter should draw precisely what he or she sees, and not follow painterly conventions. They saw this as a virtue of painters working before the age of Raphael but subsequently corrupted in more sophisticated art hence the name Pre-Raphaelite and their admiration of Medievalism.The British Museum has an important collection of Pre-Raphaelite art which is in constant demand for international exhibitions. In particular, the collection comprises a wonderful collection of drawings by Pre-Raphaelite artists, including three notable albums by Rossetti and Burne - Jones; the Robin de Beaumont collection which includes all the most important "Pre-Raphaelite" illustrated books plus rare proof impressions; and 49 volumes comprising 54,000 proofs of prints published by the Dalziel brothers, the chief publishers of Pre-Raphaelite prints.Victorian poetry (notably by Tennyson as well as Rossettis sister Christina), novels and even childrens literature, with its tense mixture of hyper-realism and vivid fantasy, provided ideal subjects for Pre-Raphaelite illustration. John Tenniel, who was contemporary with the Pre-Raphaelites, borrows heavily from their work for his famous "Alice in Wonderland" illustrations, and the author offers a wide range of poetic and literary extracts to accompany these fascinating images.