The Last Romantics is a book I return to over and over again while doing research for this blog. It is, without a doubt, the best overall book on the Pre-Raphaelites and Symbolists that exists in print, especially for someone looking for information on specific artworks.
I still remember finding a copy at the University library and realizing I'd hit the jackpot! It's stuffed with lavish photographs and excellent articles on the artists and their work (I've noticed that a lot of museums seem to be lifting catalogue descriptions from this book--either that, or the book is borrowing its articles from museum catalogues. Either way, your getting a very reliable resource, though you can certainly tell that the writers are clearly art historians, not historians--I would have been hauled before an ethics committee in no time if I'd been that cavalier with my sources).
Back to the book itself! The Last Romantics covers the romantic tradition in British Art from Edward Burne-Jones to Stanley Spencer. Hundreds of paintings are included in the volume, though the authors have chosen to steer clear of the decorative arts. The book is filled with unabashed praise for the romantic movement, which is something of a coup, since curators are (generally speaking) rather fond of mocking romantic painters, the Pre-Raphaelites in particular.
If you ever come across a copy of this book, buy it! And if you find two, send me one! I still have mine from the library, but I think I'm going to have to break down and order a copy from Amazon (a couple of the copies available from sellers in the United States are very affordable). The University is going to make me return it sooner or later!
Image courtesy Amazon.com