[In this passage from Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Hunt here explains the difference between school of painting that Ford Madox Brown followed before converting to Pre-Raphaelitism and the PRB. — George P. Landow.]

The fact is that the Early Christian school had been introduced into this country several years before Brown adopted it, by Herbert, Dyce, Maclise, and others.

Antiquarianism in its historic sense was being instructively pursued in connection with art, and in its proper place it did great service, leading to the presentation of ancient story in a strictly historic mould. It made thus a radical distinction between all illustrations by the old masters and those of modern art; to the former the costume, the type of features, and architecture were the same whether the subject were in ancient Egypt or in imperial, Rome. When a modern artist, influenced by the new learning, had settled upon a subject and had made his rough design, his further consideration was what character of costume and accessories it would require; he worked thus to give discriminating truth to his representation, this tended to break down some of the prejudice in prosaic minds against modern art which often made itself heard. Antiquarianism, however, as to manner of design and painting was quite foreign to our purpose. [I, 140]

In my own studio soon after the initiation of the Brotherhood, when I was talking with Rossetti about our ideal intention, I noticed that he still retained the habit he had contracted with Ford Madox Brown of speaking of the new principles of art as "Early Christian." I objected to the term as attached to a school as far from vitality as was modern classicalism, and I insisted upon the designation "Pre-Raphaelite" as more radically exact. [I, 175-76]


William Holman Hunt, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1905.

Biographical materials

Last modified 25 October 2012