Rookies are in italics
(P.R.B.) indicates an original member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
Ford Madox Brown, Centerfield
1821-1893. Painter. Brown was never a formal member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (P.R.B.) but D.G. Rossetti studied with him and became his friend. Brown studied painting in Europe and returned to England in 1845. In 1848 D. G. Rossetti took painting lessons from Brown. Brown contributed poetry, "The Love of Beauty" (sonnet) and an essay, "On the Mechanism of an Historical Picture" (unfinished) to The Germ
Oliver Madox Brown, Outfield
1855-1874. Painter. Writer. Son of Ford Madox Brown. Oliver started painting as an adolescent but he died before he was 20. At 16 he was writing a novel with illicit love as its theme. Published in a sanitized form as Gabriel Denver in 1873 the original version was published posthumously in 1876 with the title The Black Swan.
Edward Burne-Jones, Secondbase
1833-1898. Painter. "I mean by a picture a beautiful romantic dream of something that never was, never will be." Wrote a story "The Cousins" published in Oxford and Cambridge Magazine. Burne-Jones was part of the second wave of Pre-Raphaelitism.
James Collinson (P.R.B.), Pitcher
d.1881. Painter. Poet.Collinson was already a professional painter by the time he joined the P.R.B. In 1848 he was engaged to Christina Rossetti but the engagement was broken off because of religious differences. Collinson came from a middle class family and has been described as short, bald, shy and retiring. Nevertheless, Christina apparently was in love with her older brother's friend. Among his paintings are his pre-Pre-Raphaelite work, "The Charity Boy's Debut" and his Pre-Raphaelite painting "The Renunciation of Saint Elizabeth." An example of his poetry is "The Child Jesus" written in 1848.
Fanny Cornforth, Leftfield
Model. Muse.. Originally a prostitute, Cornforth became a model and a paramour of D.G. Rossetti . Described as "blond and buxom" she represented the polar opposite of Elizabeth Siddal. Cornforth, one commentator writes was "the very incarnation of voluptuous earthiness."
William Holman Hunt (P.R.B.), Pitcher
1827-1910. Painter. Considered the most important painter of the realistic-wing of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. His "brothers" gave him the moniker "the maniac" as a tribute to his severe work habits and discipline. An 1845 self-portrait is in the City Museum and Art Gallery in Birmingham, England and an 1868 self-portrait can be found in the Uffizi in Florence, Italy.
William Leathart, Infield
Patron. Leathart owned the Tyne Steam Shipping Company in New Castle where he met and befriended William Bell Scott which led to his introduction to D. G. Rossetti and the other Pre-Raphaelites.. Leathart collected and supported the Pre-Raphaelites and he became one of their major patrons.
Jane Burden Morris, Utility
Muse. Model. The daughter of a stableman, D. G. Rossetti and William Morris saw her at the theater. Both men fell in love with her, however, Rossetti was already married to Elizabeth Siddal. She was a model for murals that the men where painting at Oxford. In April 1859 she married Morris but Rossetti nevertheless remained in love with his friend's wife. She has been described as "tall and long-necked, with masses of black hair and deep-set dark eyes." Rather an opposite of Fanny Cornforth.
William Morris, Firstbase
1834-1896. Writer, Designer. Socialist. Morris was an architect, poet, furniture designer and political activist. He co-founded the The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine (January 1856) the literary successor to The Germ. He founded The Socialist League (1884). He wrote the prose-work News From Nowhere (1891) about an ideal society that has been described as a "medieval dream-world." Morris translated The Aeneid (1875) and the Odyssey (1887). He founded a printing press, The Kelmscott Press (1890). Morris married Jane Burden in 1859.
Christina Georgina Rossetti, Pitcher
1830-1894. Poet. Sister to Dante Gabriel and William Michael. Her first poems were published when she was 16. Christina wrote poetry for The Germ under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyn. In 1862 Goblin Market and other Poems was published with illustrations by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Her life symbolizes the tension between romantic and spiritual love. She had a romance with P.R.B. member James Collinson which ended because of her religious beliefs. She also had a romance with Charles Cayley, an author, scholar and Dante translator. But this affair also was terminated for religious reasons. There is speculation that she had a romance with William Bell Scott. Ultimately she never married and never had children. Her most famous poem Goblin Market tells the tale of two sisters seduced by goblin men. One sister succumbs, the other does not. In real life Christina did not succumb to the temptations of the flesh.
Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti (P.R.B.), Pitcher
1828-1882>. Poet. Painter.Hunt and Millais founded the P.R.B. Like his sister, Christina, Rossetti was beset by the tension between the spirit and lust. However, unlike his sibling, Gabriel was perhaps more devoted to the latter. One commentator observes, "[Rossetti] is a stranger to the hesitations of a divided northern soul when it comes up against the apparent conflict of the flesh and the spirit." In 1860 he married his longtime lover and model, Elizabeth Siddal. When she died from a drug overdose Rossetti's life began a downward turn from which he never completely recovered. See Glynn Grylls' Portrait of Rossetti for a more complete picture of his relationship with Siddal and other women.
William Michael Rossetti (P.R.B.), Pitcher
1829-1919. Writer. Critic. Biographer. Younger brother of Dante Gabriel and Christina. Only member of the P.R.B. not directly involved as a painter. Essentially the archivist and memorist of the P.R.B. Appointed editor of The Germ. Married Ford Madox Brown's daughter Lucy in 1874. Wrote a volume of art criticism, Fine Art, Chiefly Contemporary (1867). His autobiography, Reminiscences of William Michael Rossetti was published in 1906. William worked at the Inland Revenue Department from 1845 to 1894.
William Bell Scott, Thirdbase
1811-1890. Poet. Painter. Scott was early on influenced first by the Spasmodics. He was romantically involved with Christina Rossetti. However, since he was an agnostic, his relationship with Christina was doomed to failure. His posthumous Autobiographical Notes (1892) provides useful information about the P.R.B. and its members.
Elizabeth Siddal, Shortstop
1833-1862. Poet. Model. Muse. Described as the archetypal Pre-Raphaelite woman, Siddal was "discovered" working in a milliner's shop by William Allingham. She became a model for Hunt, Millais and D.G. Rossetti. Rossetti married her in 1860 but two years later, after a miscarriage, she died from a self-administered overdose of laudanum. Siddal wrote poetry and created water-colors, some of the latter can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum in England.
Frederick George Stephens (P.R.B.), Pitcher
1828-1907. Critic. An original member of the P.R.B., Stephens wrote a biography published anonymously in 1860 on William Holman Hunt. He also became the art critic of The Athenaeum magazine in 1861.
Charles Algernon Swinburne, Catcher
1837-1909. Poet. Swinburne met D. G. Rossetti at Oxford in 1857 and later the two lived together in London. More extreme in manner and in views then his friend Rossetti, Swinburne was harsh in his criticism of Victorian aesthetics and morals.
Maria Zambaco, Rightfield
Model.A model used by Edward Burne-Jones. She is "Phyllis" in Burne-Jones' 1870 painting "Phyllis & Demophoon." (The story is from the Roman poet Ovid.). Burne-Jones was in love with Maria. However by 1870 the affair was near collapse. The use of women models that they were in love with is a characteristic of the Pre-Raphaelites.
William Allingham, Field Manager
1824-1889. Poet. A writer associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, Allingham was born in Ireland although he considered his homeland "an ungrateful soil for the cultivation of the higher belles lettres." His Collected Poems appeared in six volumes between 1883 and 1893. In 1897 a collection of D.G. Rossetti's letters to Allingham was published. Allingham has been called a link between the Pre-Raphaelites and the Celtic Twilight writers of the 1890s.
John Everett Millais (P.R.B.), Coach
1829-1896. Painter. At 10 years of age he was admitted to the Royal Academy, becoming the youngest student ever admitted. Millais meets William Holman Hunt in 1847. Hunt introduces Millais to D.G. Rossetti.
John Ruskin, General Manager
1819-1900. Art critic. Writer. Early influence on Hunt and Millais. A defender and supporter of the Pre-Raphaelites, Ruskin lectured on D.G. Rossetti, Holman Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones and G. F. Watts at Oxford (1883-1835). In 1851 he wrote a pamphlet on the Pre-Raphaelite movement. His Lectures on Architecture and Painting (1854) contains a chapter on the Pre-Raphaelites.
Frances Rossetti, Owner
1800-1886. Mother of Dante Gabriel, Christina Georgina, and William Michael. Mrs. Rossetti was responsible for the early education of her children and she is described as highly intelligent. She was particularly close to her daughter Christina.
- Battiscombe, Georgina. Christina Rossetti: A Divided Life. New York. 1981
- Gaunt, William. The Pre-Raphaelite Dream. New York. 1966
- Stanford, Derek. Pre-Raphaelite Writing. London. 1973.
- Stevenson, Lionel. The Pre-Raphaelite Poets. New York. 1972.
Capacity: 7 Seats
Related External Links|
The Pre-Raphaelite Critic
Victorian Listserv Mailing List
WebMuseum: Rossetti, Dante Gabriel
The Rossetti Archive
Pre-Raphaelite Society Pages
Cybergrrl's Favorite Things: Pre-Raphaelite Art
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
The Pre-Raphaelites & Things Victorian
Epsom & Ewell - the Pre-Raphaelite Connection
Helen Rafferty's 'The Pre-Raphaelites'
William Morris Home Page
Rossetti and Pre-Raphaelitism
"Stunners:" Pre-Raphaelite Women
Pre-Raphaelite Art & Artists, William Morris, Victorian Artists
|The Founding of the P.R.B.
In 1843, William Holman Hunt was a sixteen year old boy who planned on being a painter, even if his conservative father disapproved. Hunt was attending a prizegiving ceremony at the Royal Academy, England's bastion the painting arts. One of the award winners was a fourteen year old student at the Royal Academy, John Everett Millais. |
Millais had entered the Royal Academy at ten years of age and was the resident "boy genius" of the English art world. In 1844 Millais and Hunt actually met each other and became friends. Together they talked about art and painting. Under the influence of John Ruskin's new book Modern Painters which instructed the artist to "go to nature," the young artists began to formulate a new approach to painting. An approach directly in conflict with the traditions of the Royal Academy.
In 1847 Millais and Hunt met Dante Gabriel Rossetti who was also matriculating at the Royal Academy. Rossetti was to become the spark that ignited the "new approach." Through his own special alchemy, Rossetti would, with the help of his new friends, create a new movement that would permeate Victorian culture altering it unalterably.
In March 1848 Rossetti stopped his studies at the Royal Academy and for five months, until August, he studied in the studio of the painter Ford Madox Ford. After this brief experiment, Rossetti and Hunt shared a studio together. Soon Rossetti, Hunt and Millais, all under the age of twenty-one, were hard at work plotting their artistic revolt against the British School of Painting.
To this group of three four more "brothers" were added: The sculptor Thomas Woolner who, at 22, was the oldest member; Frederick George Stephens was an art critic; James Collinson was an established professional painter; and William Michael Rossetti worked for the government. By 1850 the P.R.B. was exhibiting work at the Royal Academy and had established an official publication called The Germ.
William Rossetti, the official Secretary of the P.R.B. outlined the principles of the group.
- To have genuine ideas to express
- To study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express ideas
- To sympathize with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote
- To produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.
In introducing his book on the movement, The Pre-Raphaelite Dream, art historian William Gaunt writes that the story the Pre-Raphaelites is one of:
"baffled idealists in a material age, seeking something they could scarcely define-- a past, a future or both in one-- certainly anything except the present in which they lived."
If you look close enough, these Pre-Raphaelites seem to prefigure in some curious ways the American Beat Generation movement almost one hundred years later.
The idea for an "official" publication of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was conceived by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the Summer of 1849.|
On December 19, 1849 meeting at Rossetti's studio at 72 Newman Street in London, the P.R.B. and several of their friends met to decide several matters including the name to be given the new publication.
Originally D.G. Rossetti wanted to call it "Monthly Thoughts In Literature, Poetry and Art" and then he
selected "Thoughts Towards Nature." But at the December 19 meeting one of the attendees, Cave Thomas, had a list of 65 possible names including "The Seed," "The Scroll," "The Harbinger," "First Thoughts," "The Sower," "The Truth Seeker," "The Acorn," and "The Germ."
By a vote of 6-4, "The Germ" was selected. The full title of the new publication would be The Germ: Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art.
The first issue of The Germ appeared in January 1850. Seven hundred copies were printed but only two hundred were sold. The second issue, published in February had a reduced initial run of five hundred copies but sold even more poorly then the first number.
After two issues the magazine was already in financial trouble. The printing firm of George I.F. Tupper agreed to finance the next two issues and they were published in late March and April. Despite a name change (it was now called Art and Poetry, being thoughts towards Nature, conducted principally by Artists), these next issues did not fare any better than the first two numbers. Even the taking on of some limited advertising did not help. After four issues, The Germ ceased to exist.
The Germ, No. 2
Thoughts towards Nature
In Poetry, Literature, and Art
February, 1850: London
|[The Cover Sonnet to Germ No.2]|
by William Michael Rossetti
When who merely hath a little thought,
Will plainly think the thought which is in him,--
Not imaging another's bright or dim,
Not mangling with new words what others taught;
When whoso speaks, from having either sought
Or only found,--will speak, nor just to skim
A shallow surface with words made and trim,
But in that very speech the matter brought:
Be not too keen to cry--'So this is all!--
A thing I might myself have thought as well,
But would not say it, for it was not worth!'
Ask: 'Is this truth?' For is it still to tell
That, be the theme a point or the whole earth,
Truth is a circle, perfect, great or small?