In 1848 several painters gathered together in the hopes of developing a significantly more natural style of art than existed in their native land of England. They rejected the Academic and formal training of the days most prestigious and ruling academies and instead turned to nature for their inspiration.
The named themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and secretly began signing their new works with the PRB code. Their works would be inspired by the classics, which meant everything prior to the influence of the painter Raphael. They would return to creating works rich in detail and color and absent of mechanical form and repetitive technique.
They took many of their themes from medieval culture, but studied nature with an intensity that allowed several of them to create works of almost photorealistic quality.
The founding members included Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, John Everett Millais, Frederic George Stephens, Thomas Woolner and William Holman Hunt. They would later welcome Ford Madox Brown as well.
The group was controversial for their subject matter, which would call into question marital fidelity and were occasionally considered blasphemous. They did find a strong advocate in critic John Ruskin, who encouraged the artists and gave them many positive reviews.
The PRB did not last long into the 1850s, but served to inspire a new generation of artists, including Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, and Arthur Hughes and are even considered significant to the development of the Arts and Crafts movement in England.