About this site

Explore the Collection

Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery received funding from JISC to digitise the Pre-Raphaelite collection and make it accessible online for the education community. The resulting Pre-Raphaelite Online Resource provides full record information and allows users to examine images in great detail. You can choose to browse the online collection, make simple searches or to interrogate the collection data using filtering tools. The ability to filter the collection in this way should be particularly useful for study and research. You can also interact with the online collection by creating your own personal collections of images and by discussing the works with the online community.

Need to Know More? Check to see if our FAQs can help you.

Get Started

You can begin to browse the collection by going to the Collection page and there is a simple search available on all pages. Simple search examines all word associations, therefore may provide a large number of results. For more selective searches you need to add search filters. It is possible to add several filters at once. Once you are happy with the search criteria that you have created you then filter the results. The records that result from your search will be displayed in chronological order.

Demonstration image

 The Collection features a powerful set of search filtering tools. Build your own personal search request from various search filters like; title, artist, date etc.

Searches are remembered for re-use.


 The Collection (and search results) are displayed in chronological order.

Click on an work to view full information about the work. Alternatively click the artist name to view their profile.


Examine the Record

The record will always include an image and basic data. The majority of records have additional factual and interpretative information on the work. If there are any related works these are also listed and can be viewed without the need for another search. The level of data available on a record will depend on what is relevant to the work and what information is available at this time to curatorial staff.

Demonstration image

 Basic information is displayed alongside an image of the work.


 A full description of the work is given with links that provide options to examine the object in detail, explore the artist’s profile, add the work to your own personal collection, and make an appointment to view the actual work at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Additionally you can view related works and discuss the work with other site members.


 A complete record of this work is provided. This record includes; makers, inscriptions, literature, provenance, associated places and more.

These records are fully searchable in the Collection search page.



As a member you can also begin a discussion or contribute to a discussion about Pre-Raphaelite works. Look out for the Discuss tab on every record you view. Share your thoughts, ask or answer questions with the online community of people with an interest and expertise in the Pre-Raphaelites.

Personal Collections

By registering as a member you gain an enhanced level of access to the site. This allows you to create personal collections of Pre-Raphaelite images and to add text to your collections. You can select and save your favourite images online or group together images for study or research. You can keep your collections private so that they can only be seen by you or you can make them public for anyone to see. You also have the choice of sharing your personal collections with a select group such as friends and colleagues, or with a class or study group.

The screenshot below explains the collection editor in detail.

Demonstration image

 Personal collections can be viewed individually or as a slideshow.

When viewing as a slideshow images can be viewed in detailed high resolution.


 Work in personal collections can feature individual commentary.

Personal collections can be used in education as teaching and research aids.

Collections can be private and shared via private URL, or public and published on this website.


Enhanced Images

In order to fully appreciate the works, we felt that it was important for the images to be seen clearly and in great detail. Images are available for every record. It is possible to zoom in on all images so that works can be fully scrutinised by the user. Registered users can also use the zoom facility within their personal collections to look in detail at several images at once.

In order to zoom in look for the magnifying glass icon on the collections page or on a record page. This opens up a full screen image and allows you to view details closely and pan across images. When you use this zoom facility for the first time you will be asked to download the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in. This is very quick and easy to do. If you do not wish to download the plug-in, you do not have to do so, but you will unable to zoom in on images to examine details. This feature requires the free Silverlight plug-in.

Demonstration image

 The site features a unique full screen image browser that allows you to get up close to every image in the Collection.

Some images show an unprecidented level of detail in the works of art. For example, see the stitching detail on the Holy Grail Tapestry: Arming and Departure of the Knights by Edward Burne Jones.

This feature is also available on all personal collections and learning resources.


Background to this site

This web site sets out to document the material related to the term Pre-Raphaelite that is held by Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. It has been structured around the distinctions between the following key groupings:

The Original Members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB)
In 1848 a group of seven young artists came together to challenge the Academy-based training with a vision that looked back to medieval and early-Italian art for inspiration. Central to their imagery was the aspiration to be true to nature and moral in content. In the collection William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais are represented as the key founders of this original group, supported by the sculptor Thomas Woolner and James Collinson.

Associates and Followers
Associates and followers form the largest grouping, covering artists who were close to the PRB from its inception, most notably Ford Madox Brown. Artists who were both influenced by and helped to shape the style of the movement include Arthur Hughes, Frederick Sandys, Elizabeth Siddal, the sculptor Alexander Munro who produced the key piece of Pre-Raphaelite sculpture Paolo and Francesca, Simeon Solomon, William Dyce, Henry Wallis in the early part of his career, John and Rosa Brett.

Strongly represented are artists linked to ‘the second phase’ of the movement. This emerged from the decoration of the Oxford Union Building and laid the foundation for an arts and craft movement embracing the decorative arts. This again involved three key figures, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, with supporters such as the photographer Frederick Hollyer and Jane Morris as model and textile artist.

The Wider Context
The wider context is represented by material which extends the Pre-Raphaelite movement into the later nineteenth-century, for example printed material for illustrations to weekly periodicals and books engraved by the Dalziel Brothers and Joseph Swain; drawings by John Ruskin, the most important critic and writer promoting the Pre-Raphaelites; designs for wallpaper by William Morris; an important group of stained glass cartoons largely collected and presented to the Museum by J R Holliday; and the vital contribution of the Birmingham School of Artists.

The scope and depth of this fine and decorative art material means that specific areas such as the framed stained glass collection, ceramics by William de Morgan, and the Birmingham School demand further research and photography. This process is on-going, but it is hoped that the funding necessary to complete this extensive documentation of a remarkable collection will be forthcoming in the near future.