To find out more about the most important British art movements during Sandys' lifetime select an item from the list below:
Romanticism - A movement in art and literature, most popular in Britain from the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries, which emphasised the importance of emotion and imagination in creating works of art.
Artists were seen as creative spirits, whose feelings and thoughts were reflected in their works. They looked for new subject matter through which to express their ideas. Instead of using traditional classical or historical tales they were interested in folklore, the British past and mysterious or exotic things.
The artists J.M.W. Turner and William Blake and the poet William Wordsworth are amongst the most well known Romantics.
The Norwich School - A group of nineteenth century East Anglian artists, who specialised in painting the local landscape.
The Norwich School did not have a common style of painting, but were all interested in landscape and how it could be used to represent different interests and ideas. They tried to make their images as realistic as possible and often painted outside, directly copying the scene onto the canvas.
The original artists formed a group called “The Norwich Society of Artists”, which held regular exhibitions from 1805 until 1825. It was the first group outside London to do so. After the group broke up, artists continued to paint in the same way. The two major artists were John Crome and John Sell Cotman, but there were many artists who belonged to the group and were influenced by it.
The Gothic Revival - A renewed interest in the art and architecture produced in Europe during the Middle Ages, until c.1400, familiar through Medieval illuminated manuscripts, churches and stained glass.
Typical Gothic features include the pointed arch, use of gold and a highly decorative appearance. The Gothic Revival contrasted strongly with the traditional interest in, and use of, classical forms and subjects. It reached its height of popularity in 1836 with the new designs for the Houses of Parliament by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin.
Medievalism - As part of the Gothic Revival, many artists tried to give their work a Medieval look and used stories from, or set in the Middle Ages as subjects.
This interest in the Medieval world can be seen to continue in Pre-Raphaelite paintings right until the end of the nineteenth century, most famously in the work of Edward Burne-Jones.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood - The PRB – Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood - was formed by a group of seven young artists. The three most well known members were Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt. They aimed to create paintings that expressed serious ideas and were painted in as realistic a style as possible. They took their inspiration from Italian artists working before 1500, or before Raphael, resulting in their name.
The PRB drew up a list of suitable subjects to paint, which included tales of King Arthur, Shakespearian plays and stories by Medieval authors such as Dante and Chaucer.
Although the original PRB disbanded in 1853, their style of painting became very influential. Many artists continued to paint in a similar way and are also described as ‘Pre-Raphaelite’.
Pre-Raphaelitism - Influenced by the original PRB, many artists painted in a similar style.
The ‘second-generation’ of Pre-Raphaelites, such as Burne-Jones and Sandys, adopted the look of PRB paintings but were less interested in including hidden meanings and social messages. They concentrated on producing beautiful, highly detailed pictures, often of single female figures.
Japonisme - The influence of Japanese art on European art.
A new trading agreement made in 1853 allowed the west to trade with Japan. This allowed European people to have access to Japanese objects that had not been seen before. A fashion for all things Japanese began and many artists became greatly influenced by Japanese art.
Japanese art, for example the woodcuts by Hokusai, was very different to traditional western art. It had strong outlines and a sense of design, as well as flat areas of colour and unusual view points, contrasting with the principles of painting taught by European academies.
Arts & Crafts Movement - A movement to reform the decorative arts, emphasising the importance of craftsmanship and individuality, compared to the mass-production of the new industrial age.
The Arts and Crafts Movement wanted decorative art – e.g. furniture, tiles and wallpaper – to be designed as carefully as a work of art.
William Morris founded his own company called 'The Firm' in 1861 based upon these principals and became the main influence for the Arts and Crafts Movement. Other artists who worked for the Firm were Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown.
Neo-Classicism - In the late nineteenth century artists once more became interested in the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome. They tried to evoke the mood and look of classical antiquity in their paintings.
The excavations in 1861 of Pompeii and Herculaeneum, and the arrival in England of the Elgin Marbles earlier in the century, increased people’s knowledge about ancient Greece and Rome. Painters could recreate the look of antiquity more accurately, including in their work details based on real objects found by archaeologists.
Artists such as Albert Moore, Simeon Solomon, Lord Leighton and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema are the best known artists who worked in this style.
Aestheticism - A style which promoted “art for art’s sake” – the idea that works of art should simply be beautiful objects with no deeper meanings behind them.
Aesthetic artists, such as Leighton and Alma-Tadema, painted pictures that were visually pleasing but had no real subject – they do not tell a story or suggest a meaning.