Frederic George Stephens


One of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood's two "nonartistic" members, Stephens did dabble briefly in painting, his attempts dating between 1848-1850. He was fond of declaring that he had destroyed all his paintings, though three of them are at the Tate Gallery, London, today. Stephens turned instead to art criticism, eventually serving as art editor for the Athenaeum. He produced monographs and catalogues of most of the notable artistic personalities of the day, including Reynolds, Cruikshank, William Mulready, Bewick, Alma-Tadema, Gainsborough, Edwin Landseer, Palmer, and Van Dyke. In the Art Journal and Portfolio, and in his capacity as art critic for the Critic, Stephens also wrote studies of Hunt, Millais, Woolner, Madox Brown, and Burne-Jones. In 1894 he published Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a portfolio monograph. With Theodore Watts-Dutton, he wrote Dante Gabriel Rossetti's obituary in the 15 April 1882 Athenaeum.

Despite his membership in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Stephens insisted on anonymity in The Germ. According to William Michael Rossetti, "Stephens called on [Dante Gabriel Rossetti] in the evening, when it was determined that the Author's names [sic] shall be published in future numbers." In May 1851 he would submit "Griselda" to the Royal Academy under an assumed name.

According to William Michael Rossetti's PRB Journal, Stephens had been working on a political sonnet for the first number of The Germ. As of 13 October 1849 he had completed 11 1/2 lines, which Collinson pronounced "the best of all." By 12 November it had "attained the length of 12 lines, with the reservation of a tremendous idea for the final two." The poem was never published.