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The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites - HOA00060M

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Liz Prettejohn
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21

Module aims

This module explores the art of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (founded in 1848), its international dissemination in the second half of the nineteenth century, and its artistic and critical legacy through to the present day. It re-evaluates the Pre-Raphaelite movement in the light of recent exhibitions, scholarly publications, and more popular representations of the group and their activities, including film and television. Can the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood be regarded as the first of the modernist avant-garde movements, and how does that change our understanding of the history of modern art? Should older views of Pre-Raphaelitism as an insular or parochial English movement be discarded? What should the agenda be for the next generation of Pre-Raphaelite studies? The module will develop students knowledge and understanding of the history of modern art and of the critical issues surrounding modernism and modernity. It will draw on the abundant primary documentation that is available for the study of English art in this period, much of which has yet to be explored in the scholarly literature.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should have acquired the following:

  • a thorough knowledge of the art of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their followers, 1848 - 1914
  • an awareness of the international dissemination of the Pre-Raphaelite movement in the later nineteenth century and of its role in histories of modern art
  • knowledge and understanding of critical approaches to Pre-Raphaelite art, from 1848 through to the present day
  • skills in the interpretation of primary texts (both critical and literary) relevant to the Pre-Raphaelite movement, including the ability to locate and access such texts
  • skills in visual analysis
  • an ability to critique historical and current approaches to Pre-Raphaelite art


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on summative assessment within 20 working days.

Indicative reading

  • Tim Barringer, Reading the Pre-Raphaelites, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999 (first published London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998).
  • Tim Barringer, Jason Rosenfeld, and Alison Smith (eds), Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde, exh. cat., London: Tate Publishing, 2012.
  • Colin Cruise, Pre-Raphaelite Drawing, exh. cat., Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery/ London: Thames & Hudson, 2011.
  • Jerome J. McGann, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Game That Must Be Lost, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000.
  • Elizabeth Prettejohn, The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites, London: Tate Publishing, 2000. (Paperback ed. 2007)
  • Elizabeth Prettejohn (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Pre-Raphaelites, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.