Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Pre-Raphaelitism and Its Contexts
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  Essay (3000 words)  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Examination (2 hours)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay (3000 words)  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   2 hour examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of key issues in British art and their wider cultural and social contexts in the period c.1840-1900.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and theories, critical texts and the historical contexts for the production of works by Pre-Raphaelite artists and their followers.
3. Frame a response to questions and develop a written argument on appropriate material in both essay and examination answers.
4. Demonstrate a sound knowledge of appropriate bibliographic and other research materials.
5. Develop critical skills and language through the following activities: the close analytical reading of pictures and other images, the close reading of set texts for seminar discussion; the formulation of a considered response to the essay questions.

Brief description

This module provides a comprehensive survey of the Victorian art scene and its theoretical, social and cultural contexts from around 1840 to 1900. It will focus upon the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the development of a wider phenomenon, Pre-Raphaelitism. It aims to provide students with an understanding of a range issues: contemporary debates around ‘primitivism’ and classicism, academic and anti-academic movements in Europe, new exhibiting cultures, the relationship between art and commerce, art industry and craft, art and social ideas, the relationship of visual art with poetry, drama, opera and the novel, the rise of the artist in a new art market.


10 hours of lectures, 5 of hours of seminars.

The lecture topics will cover the historical material in roughly chronological order while being, at the same time, broadly thematic in content. This will allow for some cross-referencing between lecture topics. The seminars will typically consist of group discussion of key texts and/or key works of art to relate to contextual issues, historical and current criticism and theory, and manifestos of movements or ‘schools’ of art. Together the two forms of delivery will provide an in-depth account of the issues arising in the period c.1840-1900.

Typically, lectures will cover the following topics:

1 The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Pre-Raphaelitism: An introductory overview
2 Primitivism and the rediscovery of the medieval: contexts in European art and culture
3 High Art culture in Victorian Britain: contexts for the growth of Pre-Raphaelitism
4 Exhibiting and reviewing the Pre-Raphaelites: 1850-1855
5 Pre-Raphaelitism and contemporary literature
6 Rossetti and his followers
7 Ruskin and Ruskinian Pre-Raphaelitism in England & the USA
8 The ‘New Painting’ of the 1860s and 70s
9 Art, Craft, Life: Pre-Raphaelitism and the total work of art
10 Symbolist experimentation: Pre-Raphaelitism in fin-de-siècle Europe


To assess and evaluate an important movement in British art in the nineteenth century
To discuss the significance of Pre-Raphaelitism in relation to other contemporary movements in art
To introduce and develop interdisciplinary research skills
To build on analytical skills taught in Core modules


This module is at CQFW Level 6