National Museum Cardiff

Art in Victorian Britain National Museum Cardiff

Victorian architecture and design still shape much of our world today, especially in Cardiff, which grew from a market town to a world city during the nineteenth century.

Cardiff Castle, transformed by William Burges from 1866, is one of Britain’s most opulent, gothic revival buildings.

During the lifetime of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) Britain became the richest nation on earth. More people bought art, and success brought artists new levels of wealth and social prestige.

Wealthy middle-class taste was for romantic landscape and animal painting, and scenes from literature. Artists also used their work as a means of social commentary through genre paintings of ‘modern life.’

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of artists, formed in 1848, brought a new moral purpose and freshness of observation.

Later in the century there was a focus on the idea of beauty for its own sake, and artists absorbed new ideas and techniques from France.

Coal and iron transformed Wales into the world’s first industrial nation, underpinning both private patronage of the arts and the first public galleries.

Most Welsh artists still made their careers outside Wales, but some now addressed subjects of Welsh identity, contributing to the growth of a national consciousness.

» Back to Art

[image: Jephthah, Sir John Everett Millais]

MILLAIS, Sir John Everett
oil on canvas
Bequeathed by Isadore Stone, 1964
NMW A 180

[image: The Parting, James Tissot]

TISSOT, James (1836 - 1902)
The Parting
oil on canvas
Bequeathed by William Menelaus, 1882
NMW A 184

[image: Map of gallery 6]


Gallery 6
National Museum Cardiff
  • National Museum Cardiff

    [image: National Museum Cardiff]

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

  • St Fagans National History Museum

    [image: St Fagans]

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    [image: Big Pit]

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    [image: National Wool Museum]

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    [image: National Roman Legion Museum]

    In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.

  • National Slate Museum

    [image: National Slate Museum]

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

  • National Waterfront Museum

    [image: National Waterfront Museum]

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

    Rhagor (Welsh for ‘more’) offers unprecedented access to the amazing stories that lie behind our collections.