Victorian Radicals:

From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement

In the second half of the nineteenth-century, three generations of young, rebellious artists and designers revolutionized the visual arts in Britain by engaging with and challenging the new industrial world around them. Known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, these artists and the champions of the Arts & Crafts Movement offered a radical artistic and social vision whose inspiration was in the pre-industrial past. Their work deeply influenced visual culture in Britain and beyond. Organized from the outstanding collection of the city of Birmingham, United Kingdom, Victorian Radicals will bring together an extensive array of works—many of which have never been exhibited outside the UK—to illuminate this dynamic period of British art.
 
Featuring works by pioneering artists including Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Elizabeth Siddall, Victorian Radicals will represent the spectrum of avant-garde practices of the Victorian era, emphasizing the response of Britain’s first modern art movement to the unfettered industrialization of the period. These artists’ attention to detail, use of vibrant colors, and engagement with both literary themes and contemporary life will be illustrated through a selection of paintings, drawings, and watercolors presented alongside outstanding examples of decorative arts.
 
The exhibition explores the ideas that preoccupied artists and critics at the time—the relationship between art and nature, questions of class and gender identity, the value of the handmade versus machine production, and the search for beauty in an age of industry—issues that remain relevant and actively debated today. OKCMOA is proud to be the first museum to present this traveling exhibition of exceptional historical and visual richness.
 
Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement is organized by the American Federation of Arts and Birmingham Museums Trust. This exhibition is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by Clare McKeon and the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation.
 
Image Credit: Kate Bunce, Musica, ca. 1895–97. Oil on canvas, 40 3/16 x 30 3/16 x 1 3/4 in., Birmingham Museums Trust (1897P17). © Birmingham Museums Trust