The Pre-Raphaelites

Birmingham Museums Trust holds the most important collection of Pre-Raphaelite art anywhere in the world.

Birmingham's collection has over 3000 paintings, drawings, prints and examples of decorative art and design. The Pre-Raphaelite galleries bring together highlights from this extraordinary collection to tell the story of the Brotherhood, their associates and followers, and their revolutionary contribution to British art.

The seven young friends who formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 changed the face of British art for ever. 

Led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, they rebelled against conservatism in Victorian painting. Instead, they admired the simplicity and clarity of medieval Italian art before Raphael (1483-1520), giving them their name ‘Pre-Raphaelites’.

The Pre-Raphaelite displays changed in July 2018 in preparation for 'Victorian Radicals', our largest touring exhibition to date in partnership with the American Federation of Arts. While this means some of our most popular Pre-Raphaelite paintings are currently not on display, a selection of some visitor favourites remain. There have also been some exciting new additions, including works by Edward Burne-Jones.

'Victorian Radicals' will see 200 works from Birmingham’s world-class collection tour to at least six venues in the United States from October 2018. The exhibition will showcase Birmingham’s rich artistic heritage to a whole new audience across the Atlantic – helping to raise the profile of the the city and its collection, and raise money for the redevelopment of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery as part of wider fundraising plans.

Please contact us if you are planning a visit to see a specific painting and would like to know in advance whether it is on display or not.