Victorian Art in England

In the time of the Pre-Raphaelites, the fashionable art to collect was French, Italian, 18th Century, other schools and periods also, but not really contemporary British. However, newly-rich northern industrialists wanted British art, and were more receptive to Pre-Raphaelite art. Therefore many of the important collections of such art were formed in the north, and have stayed there. During the later Victorian period municipal galleries were set up in many smaller towns throughout the country, and thus Pre-Raphaelite art is spread all over Britain. As well, while the national collections -and especially the Tate Britain Gallery - tend to have only part of their collections on display at any one time, the more local ones tend to show most of what they have, and be more proud of their Victorian heritage.

The biggest collections are in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool (in the Walker and Lady Lever galleries), and outside England, in Cardiff and in Edinburgh. Other important collections are in Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Bournemouth. Of these, Oxford is an hour from London, Cambridge a little further, and Bristol and Bournemouth a couple of hours by train, so all are good day trips.

Convenient art and aesthetics day-trips out from London (about an hour or hour and a half's train trip from a central London station) are Brighton (with a smaller art gallery at Hove a good walk or easy bus ride away), Hastings, Leicester, Worthing and Rochester.

Further away, but still possible as a longer day trip, and with good art collections are Leeds, Norwich and Preston. Other towns with interesting galleries discussed on these pages include Bath, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Warrington, the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, and the Hollytrees Museum in Colchester.

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