And, what about the artists, their stunners, their muses and their eccentric literary friends? Not everyone’s pot of paint, but whole tomes have been written about the Pre-Raphaelites. So, fat chance of anything very meaningful emerging from the following paragraph, but I’m arrogant enough to give it a go.

For a start, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) was, itself, short-lived. The seven original members (Hunt, Rossetti, Millais, Woolner, Collinson, Michael Rossetti and George Stephens) met in George Millais’s studio in Sept 1848. Out of their rambling discussions, there seems to have emerged an agreement that their aim was to escape the fetters of the Royal Academy, and to paint more naturalistically and vividly than was fashionable. This, they started to do, producing paintings signed alongside the mysterious (and ridicule provoking) initials, PRB. Can it be true that Rossetti’s reputation gave birth to the ‘Penis Rather Better’, tag that started to be bandied about? John Ruskin, however, supported the PRB and was rewarded for his pains with Sandys’s brilliant satire of Millais’s Sir Isumbras at the Ford.

They published a journal, Germ, which failed after a run of only four editions and, until Ruskin gave them some support, their exhibited work came in for a lot of stick. As a group they were disbanded in the early 1850s, but from then to the end of the century, diverse artists came to be seen as Pre-Raphaelites. Included in their number, was Frederick Sandys, alter ego of Sands in the Gypsy Model. Their work and their foibles were diverse. Their ranks included libertines, drunkards, moralists and social reformers. Their models ranged from the lady-like Jane Morris to the whorish Annie Miller and the young gypsy, Keomi Gray. Rather more to Victorian tastes, than to modern ones, they were considered stunners. But let’s leave the stunners and the hangers on for another day. This is already starting to ramble.

 

 

 

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