Module Information

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


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:

a knowledge of key issues in British art as well as the wider cultural and social contexts in the period c.1840-1900;

an understanding of key concepts and theories, critical texts and historical contexts for works produced by Pre-Raphaelite artists and their followers;

a sound knowledge of appropriate bibliographic and other research materials;

critical skills and language through: 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 on the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and development of a wider phenomenon, Pre-Raphaelitism. It introduces and develops interdisciplinary research skills and aims to provide students with an understanding of a range issues concerning this important movement in British art in the nineteenth century: 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, and the rise of the artist in a new art market.

Historical material will be covered in lectures that are broadly chronological and thematic in content. Seminars will involve group discussion as students assess and evaluate key texts and/or artworks and relate them to contextual issues, historical and current criticism and theory, and manifestos of movements or ‘schools’ of art.


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


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

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Articulating ideas through seminar discussions as well as academic writing skills in the essay.
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent study through class assignment research and preparation. Management of time.
Information Technology Information retrieval from various academic research portals and online museum collection databases.
Personal Development and Career planning Emphasis on professional presentation of research and bibliography using MLA style documentation.
Problem solving In class discussion, essay research and writing, and in the examination.
Research skills Academic essay research and writing, and in the examination. Image sourcing.
Subject Specific Skills Analysis and interpretation of artworks, their makers and contexts.
Team work Seminar group discussion and presentation.


This module is at CQFW Level 6