16 May—27 September 2020

Pre-Raphaelites: Dreaming of a medieval past

Statement regarding coronavirus (COVID-19):

The museums remain closed while we work to ensure that they are safe for visitors, volunteers and staff. Exhibition dates are now subject to change. We hope to provide an update on this in the near future.


This exhibition takes a fresh look at the Pre-Raphaelites and their obsession with medieval subject matter.

During the 19th century the Pre-Raphaelites created countless images of medieval history and legends. These pictures served as metaphors of an alternative world far away from the challenges of contemporary life.

While British society was rapidly changing during the age of Empire and Industrialisation, pictures of perfect kings, saints and fairy tales offered the imagination a temporary escape, a place to lose oneself and a social ideal to aspire to.

Along with highlights from our own collection, the exhibition will feature loans from art galleries around the UK including Tate and the Ashmolean Museum. Among others, the show will feature works by Edward Burne-Jones, Frank Dicksee, William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Dreaming of a medieval past takes a new well-being approach to exhibition design. We invite you to sit down, relax, and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells around you.

This exhibition is a collaboration with The Bowes Museum.


We are temporarily suspending online advance tickets. 

£6 adult
£5 concession
Free for under 16s – ticket still required
Tickets include £1 voluntary donation to Bristol Museums Development Trust.

  • 50% off with National Art Pass.
  • Free entry for students and 16-25 year olds every Wednesday (with valid ID).
  • Groups of 10 or more must book in advance.
  • No groups on Wednesdays, weekends or free days.


Image: The Garden Court by Edward Burne-Jones

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery would like to thank exhibition sponsor: Smith & Williamson.