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Upcoming Exhibition

Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement

October 11–January 05, 2020

Cowden Gallery

Kate Elizabeth Bunce, Musica, ca. 1895–97, Oil on canvas in original frame, 40 3/16 x 30 3/16 x 1 3/4 in., Presented by Sir John Holder, Bart., 1897 © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts. 


The last half of the nineteenth century was a dynamic period for British art. Three generations of young artists and designers revolutionized the visual arts in Britain and beyond by challenging the new industrial world. Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement explores the ideas that preoccupied artists at the time—the relationship between art and nature, questions of class and gender, the value of handmade versus machine-made,and the search for beauty in an industrial age.

Drawn from the outstanding collection of the City of Birmingham, United Kingdom, the exhibition brings together an array of art to illuminate this period including paintings, sculpture, silver, glass, and jewelry. It features such pioneering artists as Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones, William Holman Hunt, William Morris, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Many of the works have never been seen outside the UK.

“The exhibition represents the spectrum of avant-garde practices of the Victorian era and Britain’s first modern art movement,” said William Keyse Rudolph, Chief Curator and the Marie and Hugh Halff Curator of American and European Art. “Visitors will see many original, iconic works of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts & Crafts Movement that they may have loved from popular culture—as well as discover lesser-known treasures. Poetic, gritty, beautiful, powerful, strange, and wonderful, this exhibition has something for everyone.”

This exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and Birmingham Museums Trust.

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