Artists' Biographies

Alma-Tadema, Sir Lawrence   Millais, Sir John Everett
Brown, Ford Madox   Morgan, Evelyn de
Burne-Jones, Sir Edward Coley   Morris, William
Collier, John   Osborn, Emily Mary
Collins, Charles Allston   Rossetti, Dante Gabriel
Cowper, Frank Cadogan   Sandys, Frederick Augustus
Dicksee, Sir Frank Bernard   Strudwick, John Melhuish
Godward, John William   Swynnerton, Annie Louisa
Hunt, William Holman   Waterhouse, John William
Leighton, Sir Frederic      




Self-portrait (detail) (1897)
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 - 1912) Although Dutch-born, most of Alma-Tadema's career was spent in England. He was naturalized there in 1873 and knighted in 1899. His early paintings are of Merovingian and Egyptian scenes, but after visiting Pompeii in 1863, his focus turned to styles of classical Greek and Roman. His paintings usually include beautiful women and are often evocative. Alma-Tadema is also recognized for his grand rendering of marble, silver, gold, bronze and silks. He was also an early influence on John William Waterhouse and John William Godward. Included works here: Ask Me No More, Expectations, HerEyes are with Her Thoughts and They are Far Away, The Bath of Caracalla, The Favourite Poet. [top]

Drawing by Rossetti (1852)
Ford Madox Brown (1821 - 1893) Brown was never an official member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but had tremendous impact on their technique. His own work was influenced by the German Nazarenes, who he connected with during his visit to Rome in 1848. Rossetti became a student of Brown. From this, Brown became an adviser to the Brotherhood. In the 1850's he began designing furniture for Charles Seddon, and in 1861, became a founding member of the William Morris Co. For this, he designed furniture and stained glass. Included work here: Take Your Son, Sir [top]

Edward Burne-Jones with granddaughter
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833 - 1898) "I mean by a picture, a beautiful romantic dream of something that never was, never will be - in a better light than any light that ever shone - in a land that no-one can define or remember, only desire - and the forms divinely beautiful." Burne-Jones originally intended to enter the church, but was so inspired after seeing the works of Rossetti, that in 1856, he decided to paint instead. He led the second phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and became close friends with William Morris. He became a partner in the William Morris Co., and produced many designs for stained glass and tapestries. His style was consciously aesthetic, combining romanticism with medievalism, to produce sentimental works with high moral tone. Included works here: Autumn, Day, Depths of the Sea, Night, Pan and Psyche, Spring, The Angel, The Sleeping Princess [top]

John Collier (1850-1934) Collier, the son of a judge, studied at Slade School under Poynter, and was encouraged by Alma-Tadema and Millais. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1874. He painted dramatic subject pictures and landscapes which catered to the vogue upper-class. Included work here: Lady Godiva, [top]

Charles Allston Collins (1828-1873) A painter of historical genre, Collins studied at Royal Academy schools and first exhibited there in 1847. His association with the Pre-Raphaelites stemmed from his close friendship with Millais, whom he made several painting expeditions with. His drawing style is so similar to Millais, in fact, that their work is often confused. Art never came easy to Collins and he gave it up about 1858 to pursue writing. He found success in two novels, two travel books and several periodicals. Collins was married to a daughter of Dickens. Included work here: Convent Thoughts [top]

Frank Cadogan Cowper (1877-1934) Painter of portraits, historical and fantasy scenes; also decorator and watercolorist, Cowper studied at St. John's Wood School. He began exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1899. Although much of his career was outside the Victorian period, he was strongly influenced by Burne-Jones and Pre-Raphaelitism. He is credited for carrying the Pre-Raphaelite ideas into the twentieth century. In 1910, he received a commission to paint six murals for the Houses of Parliament. Included work here: La Belle Dame Sans Merci [top]

Sir Frank Bernard Dicksee (1853- 1928) Dicksee came from a family of painters, and studied under his father, Thomas Francis Dicksee, for a year before entering the Royal Academy Schools in 1871. While there, he met Frederic Leighton and John Millais, establishing his ties to the Pre-Raphaelites. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1876 and became president in 1924. Included works here: La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Miranda [top]

John William Godward (1861-1922) Godward so closely followed the work of Alma-Tadema, that sometimes their works are confused. He painted mostly classical genre scenes of lovely ladies in robes, reclining on marble. He began exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1887. Unfortunately for Godward, the Victorian standards did not allow for popularity of his kind of work. Subsequently, he committed suicide in 1922. Included work here: The Betrothed [top]

William Holman Hunt (1827- 1910) One of the founders of the Brotherhood, Hunt began his work at the Royal Academy with permission from his parents at the age of 17. It was there that he met Rossetti and Millais. He only exhibited at the Royal Academy for two years (1846-47) and was never accepted as an academician. Although he always remained true to the standards of the Pre-Raphaelite style, his subjects turned from historical and literary genre, to more religious as his career progressed. Included works here: The Awakening Conscience, The Hireling Shepherd [top]

Photograph, c.1860
Sir Frederic Lord Leighton (1830-1896) The son of a doctor, Leighton studied under various teachers in Florence and Rome. His career was launched in 1855 when his first Royal Academy painting, 'Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna is Carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence' was bought by Queen Victoria. In the 1860's, his work moved from medieval and biblical subjects to classical themes. By the end of his career, Leighton was a highly esteemed Victorian painter, and was the only English artist to be given the rank of baron. He received this only one day before his death. Included works here: Bath of Psyche, Clytie, Flaming June, Invocation, Nausicca from Homer's Ulysses, The Fisherman and the Siren, The Music Lesson, The Painter's Honeymoon[top]

Self-Portrait, 1883
Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) Clearly a natural talent, Millais entered Royal Academy schools at age eleven. After meeting Rossetti and Hunt there in 1848, he became one of the original members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. When he became an associate to the Royal Academy in 1853, the Brotherhood was officially dissolved. Although he retained some Pre-Raphaelite qualities, his later works became more academic and sentimental. He was elected president of the Royal Academy in 1896, the same year of his death. Included works here: Ophelia , The Black Brunswicker [top]

Evelyn deMorgan (1855-1919) After studying at the Slade School in 1873, de Morgan became a pupil of her uncle, Spencer Stanhope. She was greatly influenced by him and Burne-Jones, as well. In 1887, as Evelyn Pickering, she married the Pre-Raphaelite potter William de Morgan. Included works here: Flora, Helen of Troy [top]

Photograph, aged 23
William Morris Morris was a painter, designer, craftsman, poet, and social reformer. He began his career as an architect, but soon switched careers after meeting Rossetti and Burne-Jones. After building a home for his family in 1859 (the "Red House"), Morris' furnishing and decorating style opened the doors to the idea for his decorating firm. In 1861, under the title Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company, Morris and Company was established. Morris' frustration with the current style of home decorations propelled his creativity, through his company, to produce furniture, stained glass, wallpaper, decorated tiles, jewelry, embroideries, and tapestries. The designs created by him and his colleagues set a president in Victorian style. Included works here: Queen Guinevere [top]

Emily Mary Osborn (1834-1893) A Painter of genre, she was the daughter of a London clergyman. She studied at Dicken's Academy and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851. Her themes focus a lot on the "damsel in distress", but she also produced historical works and paintings of children. Included work here: Golden Daydream [top]

Photograph, c. 1860
Dante Gabriel Rossetti As a young man, Rossetti was dissatisfied with formal academic training. The strength of his personality led him to be the founder and leader of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. Although his own work did not adhere at all to the Brotherhood's principles, his subject matter did. His paintings illustrate many themes from Dante and Arthurian legend. As well, because Rossetti was a poet and drew close connections between his canvas art and poetry, many of his illustrations have accompanying poetry. His later works evolved into a kind of worship of an unattainable and indifferent idealized woman. He gave these women qualities of mysticism and sensuality. Included works here: Found, Lilith, Proserpine, Sea-Spell, The Blessed Damozel, The Wedding of St. George and Princess Sabra, Veronica Veronese [top]

Frederick Augustus Sandys (1829-1904) Sandys studied at the Norwich School where his father was a minor painter. He began his exhibiting in the Royal Academy in 1851. In 1857, he painted a parody of a work by Millais, and through this, was able to meet Rossetti and become part of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. His works include portraits, illustrations and woodcuts. Included works here: Gentle Spring [top]

John Melhuish Strudwick (1849-1935) He studied at South Kensington and Royal Academy Schools with little success. His found his focus while working as a studio assistant for Spencer Stanhope and Burne-Jones. Although inspired by them, he was able to find his own style. His great attention to detail and use of rich glowing colors, made his otherwise static, lifeless paintings highly decorative. Included works here: An Angel, [top]

Annie Louisa Swynnerton (1844-1933) Swynnerton was born in Kersal to a solicitor as Annie Louisa Robinson. She later married Joseph Swynnerton, who was a Manx sculptor in Rome. She studied at the Manchester School of Art, and started exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1879. She was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1922, the first woman to receive academic honors in 154 years. Included work here: The Sense of Sight [top]

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) Waterhouse as a young boy in Rome, engulfed his mind with ancient history, myths and allegories. When his artistic talent bloomed, these topics were the natural subjects for his paintings. His paintings are known for their grand story-telling abilities, and are laced with details of his own imagination. The majority of his works were painted at his Primrose Hill Studio in London, where he painted numerous women in typical Pre-Raphaelite style. Included works here: A Mermaid, A Naiade, A Song of Springtime, After the Dance, Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, Destiny, Echo and Narcissus, Hylas and the Nymphs, "I am Half-Sick of Shadows", said the Lady of Shalott, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, La Fileuse, Miranda, The Tempest, My Sweet Rose, Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus, Ophelia, Ophelia, Psyche Entering Cupid's Garden, Psyche Opening the Golden Box, Sleep and His Half-brother Death, The Awakening of Adonis, The Lady of Shallot, The Lady of Shallot, The Magic Circle, The Shrine, The Siren, The Sorceress, Tristram and Isolde, Ulysses and the Sirens, Windflowers [top]