We use cookies on this site. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies. Close this message Find out more

Home > English home > Information for current students > Undergraduate > EN3227 Special Topic: The Pre-Raphaelite Movement in Art and Literature
More in this section ReadingLists

EN3227 Special Topic: The Pre-Raphaelite Movement in Art and Literature

Summer Reading List (2014-15)

Tutor: Vicky Greenaway

I’m looking forward to meeting you all come September. In the meantime, here’s an outline of some Summer prep that would be helpful in setting you up for the start of the course.

There’s only one thing I want you to do: and that’s familiarize yourself with the basic biography of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848-53), its key figures and key paintings.


Try the following means:


1. Read an introductory art-historical overview of the movement.

  • Here are some suggested titles.

    • Christopher Wood The Pre-Raphaelites (Weidenfeld, 2000)

    • Jason Rosenfeld The Pre-Raphaelites (Tate: Tate Introductions, 2012)

    • Elizabeth Prettejohn The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites (Tate, 2007)

    • Tim Barringer Reading the Pre-Raphaelites (Yale University Press, 2nd ed. 2012)

However, I don’t feel particularly precious about which introductory study you read – anything that familiarises you with key figures, paintings and concerns of the movement will do. Local libraries often have some kind of introductory work on the Pre-Raphs, as popular interest in the Movement is quite high, so don’t forget to look there.


2. See if you can get a grasp of the range of paintings/artworks by the group and associated members through reading catalogues of Pre-Raphaelite works, either from standing collections at Museums/Galleries or special exhibition catalogues:

Standing collections of P-R paintings are those in the permanent collections of the big British Museums/Galleries. Large holdings of P-R paintings are held at: the Tate Britain; Birmingham Museums & Galleries; Liverpool Museums; Manchester City Galleries. Below is a list of catalogues from those collections. Some will be out of print and therefore hard/expensive to find. Look out for them at local libraries or second-hand bookstores.

  • Penelope Curtis, Tate Britain Companion: A Guide to British Art (Tate, 2013) Just a small section of a larger study spanning the Tate’s collection over a number of centuries. Worth flicking through in the Tate bookshop before you buy.

  • Julian Trueherz, Pre-Raphaelite Paintings from the Manchester City Art Galleries (revised ed. 1993)

  • Birmingham Museums & Galleries Pre-Raphaelite Online Resource at http://www.preraphaelites.org/ They cut out a print publication and recently produced this excellent online catalogue. Go and browse for free.

  • Laura MacCulloch Pre-Raphaelite Treasures at National Museums Liverpool (Liverpool University Press, 2013). Laura is now curator of the RHUL Picture Collection and there is a copy of this work (from her previous job at National Museums Liverpool) in Founders Library.

Exhibition catalogues are, as is obvious, catalogues of specially arranged exhibitions held at one museum or gallery but at which art from various places has been transported to that destination for the duration of a short exhibition. The paintings will be assembled on the basis of a particular theme (unlike standing collections, which are donations from benefactors or purchases by the Gallery and do not necessarily have a common uniting theme or interest behind those purchases). Exhibition Catalogues are useful therefore to highlight different areas of interest and thematic concern in public/scholarly treatment of the movement at different times. The seminal 1984 Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at the Tate which cemented the academic and artistic has a now impossible-to-get-hold-of exhibition catalogue; Lisa Dacunha in the English Department Office has a couple of copies that can be loaned out on a short-term basis if you’re around campus over the summer. Tracking the titles of other later exhibitions such as Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists and Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde show how certain emphases and threads have become items for discussion since that first modern exhibition and is an interesting research exercise in itself [search Pre-Raphaelite exhibition] on amazon/ google. Older exhibition catalogues are out there – prohibitively expensive to buy online but look out for them in libraries and bargains in second-hand bookstores. Here is a reasonably priced catalogue from the most recent exhibition on the Pre-Raphs (held at the V&A Sep 2012 – Jan 2013):

  • Tim Barringer, Jason Rosenfeld, Alison Smith eds., Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde (Tate, 2012). [available on Amazon.]

3. Better still – visit the Galleries cited in 2, if you’re close to any of them, and if you’re not, go and visit some Galleries in your area to gain experience in looking at and analyzing art objects.

4. Buy and read John Berger Ways of Seeing (Penguin Modern Classics, repr. 2008). Currently £6.29 on Amazon. Seminal text on art interpretation, and how to read images.

Have fun! Most of the reading for the course is on the course Moodle site as e-texts and .pdfs. I’ll ensure you have access to this over the Summer.

Do email me if you have any queries in the meantime, V.L.Greenaway@rhul.ac.uk


Comment on this page

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is there a broken link or content that needs updating? Let us know so we can improve the page.

Note: If you need further information or have a question that cannot be satisfied by this page, please call our switchboard on +44 (0)1784 434455.

This window will close when you submit your comment.

Add Your Feedback