STEPHENS, FREDERIC GEORGE (1827-1907, member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, artist and critic)
THE BIRTH OF PRE-RAPHAELITISM AND ITS LAST EXHALATION. This article marks the last breath of the Pre-Raphaelite Movement by its last two surviving original Brothers some fifty years after its foundation.
'...The fact is that the coming together in 1848 of the Brotherhood in question, of which our autobiographer makes more fuss than any one else has cared to do, was, so to say, simply the point of crystallization at which seven very young men whose convictions concerning ethics and art, their moral as well as technical views, coalesced. Mr W.M. Rossetti and I did our best to give effect to these views by means of our pens. D.G. Rossetti, and, for a time Millais, Woolner and Mr Hunt chose other means, and throve greatly in so doing. Finally, I think it my duty as one of a circle most of the other members of which are now, Alas!, dead, to protest in the most emphatic manner against the ungenerous and egotistical spirit displayed by Mr Hunt when treating of some of the opinions and conduct of such comrades of his and mine who loved and helped him during many a year including Madox Brown, the brothers Rossetti, Woolner and others hardly less distinguished than they...'
Stephens made some progress as a painter in the late 1840s and 1850s with a picture of King Arthur and Sir Bedivere, acted as Holman Hunt's assistant in the restoration of the ceiling at Trinity House, and exhibited portraits of his parents at the Royal Academy. He then became an art critic, first (as John Seward) for The Germ and then primarily for The Athenaeum, while also teaching art at University College School. He was secretary of the Hogarth Club, producing many published works including Catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. Stephens was the model for the head of Christ in Ford Madox Brown's Christ Washing Peter's Feet and also appeared in Millais's Ferdinand and Ariel and Lorenzo and Isabella.