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Season 1, Episode 6 - Aired 08/25/2009
Rossetti and Lizzie return from their honeymoon ready to settle into conventional married life. However, when Millais proposes the idea of an artistic colony for the Brotherhood and their wives, Rossetti is immediately attracted by the bohemian notion of group living. Lizzie, on the other hand, can't bear to think of Rossetti living under the same roof as other women. Unfortunately for her, it doesn't take an artistic colony for Rossetti's eye to wander, and within days of their return he starts up an affair with William Morris's wife, Jane Burden. When Ruskin also forsakes Lizzie, withdrawing his support for her art now that she is a married woman, it begins to look as if laudanum has become her only remaining refuge. Hunt sets out to win back Annie Miller, hoping to persuade her to move into the colony with him. He sends Fred to deliver his latest offer of marriage. Annie, unsurprisingly, has had enough of Hunt's indecision and tells Fred that she has no intention of accepting Hunt's proposal. Fred sees this as the perfect moment to seize his own chance of happiness, and he proposes to her himself. Annie bursts out laughing at the idea of marriage to Fred. Humiliated, Fred vows to himself to protect no one's feelings in future, and to always tell the truth, no matter how brutal. However, when he chooses the fragile Lizzie as a recipient of one of his home truths, little can he imagine the devastating consequences.
Season 1, Episode 5 - Aired 08/18/2009
Rossetti and Lizzie revel in their new-found status and wealth, acquired courtesy of Ruskin's generous patronage. Swept up in a whirlwind of late-night partying and debauchery, they forget about their art, including the commissions they've promised to complete. Ruskin is less than impressed. He threatens to end his support unless they calm down and focus. He instructs Lizzie to report to his house every day, in order to paint in his studio. He also instructs her, to Rossetti's annoyance, to stay at her parents' house each night, in order to avoid further temptation to stray from her art. Lizzie responds swiftly and obediently to Ruskin's orders, leaving a disgruntled Rossetti to get back to the church mural he's been commissioned to paint. Rossetti, as usual, struggles to knuckle down and instead goes out on the town again, commencing a raunchy affair with the street girl Fanny Cornforth. Fanny's beauty, unlike Lizzie's, is large, fleshy and voluptuous, and it inspires in Rossetti a new, richer and more sensual style of painting. Indeed, Fanny's unbridled hedonism, as opposed to Lizzie's tendency towards neurosis, inspires in Rossetti a new lease of life. He receives further creative succour from his new young students, William Morris and Ned Burne-Jones, who offer their unadulterated worship and also their much-needed assistance with the dreaded church mural. While Rossetti enjoys himself, Lizzie, worried about losing him to another woman, struggles to obey Ruskin's orders to keep away. It's only a matter of time before she returns to find him in Fanny's arms.
Season 1, Episode 4 - Aired 08/11/2009
While Hunt is far away in the Holy Land, Fred sets out to fulfil his promise to look after Annie and prevent her from getting up to mischief. But Annie proves too hot to handle: before Fred knows what's what, she has seduced him. Hunt returns from the Holy Land none the wiser and is in fact so taken with Annie's improved deportment and education under Fred's care that he asks her to marry him. Rossetti, meanwhile, receives an encouraging visit from Ruskin who, with Millais no longer on his books, is looking for a new protege. Rossetti is so excited by the prospect of Ruskin's patronage that he finally pops the question to Lizzie, who is as delighted with his proposal as Annie is with Hunt's. In spite of newlywed Millais's smug insistence that in married life lies true happiness, both Hunt and Rossetti begin to waver at the prospect of what lies ahead. Could it be that Hunt prefers the idea of Annie the whore to that of Annie the wife? Is Rossetti capable of taking on responsibility and a conventional role in life? Fred watches on as his friends start to panic, but can he hold his own nerve and keep his affair with Annie a secret from his friend 'Maniac' Hunt?
Season 1, Episode 3 - Aired 08/04/2009
The youngest and most talented member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, John Millais, delights in having landed the influential John Ruskin as his new patron. His friends and fellow artists, Hunt and Rossetti, watch on in bitter envy as Millais begins his rise to fame and fortune. However, before long Millais realises that Ruskin's patronage comes at a price. Ruskin insists on Millais painting his beautiful, young wife Effie who, it is plain to see, is far from happy. She confesses to Millais that after five years of marriage she is still a virgin. Ruskin cannot or will not lay a finger on her. Effie explains to Millais that he is just another in a long line of men that Ruskin has attempted to lay in her path in order to stop her raising the issue of sex. Horrified, Millais realises what is expected of him: in return for Ruskin's patronage, he is to sleep with his wife. True to form, Rossetti immediately seizes on the benefits of his friend's predicament. Millais has a rich and influential patron married to a beautiful, young woman who he wants Millais to sleep with as and when he pleases. Where lies the problem in that?
Season 1, Episode 2 - Aired 07/28/2009
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood continue their quest for credibility, celebrity and success. With the help of their new friend, journalist Fred Walters, they have caught the attention of the pre-eminent art critic of the day, John Ruskin, and they now have to persuade Ruskin to buy their work. The prodigious and impossibly talented John Millais sets about rustling up a masterpiece to show Ruskin. The work is Ophelia, and he chooses Lizzie Siddal to sit for it. Rossetti, who is convinced that he is nothing without Lizzie as his muse, is furious with Millais for taking her from under his nose. Hunt, meanwhile, attempts a masterpiece of his own, with street girl Annie Miller once again sitting for him. Having lost his virginity to Annie, Hunt remains unable to resist her charms and is cast into turmoil as he battles with his deep-felt religiosity and conflicting sexual desire. Everything in the Brothers' world comes crashing to a halt when Lizzie falls unconscious with pneumonia while posing as Ophelia in a bath of cold water. Millais, distracted by thoughts of Effie, Ruskin's beautiful young wife, had failed to notice Lizzie sinking into a decline. As Lizzie's life hangs in the balance, so does Millais' masterpiece and thereby the Brotherhood's most promising chance of gaining recognition. However, Rossetti no longer cares about the future of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood as he contemplates a future without the woman he loves.
Season 1, Episode 1 - Aired 07/21/2009
Some artists want lasting fame. Some want money. Others want sex. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood want all of it. These ambitious young men - the darkly handsome Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the brilliant and conflicted William Holman Hunt, and the preternaturally talented John Millais - are out to rock the art world with a style of painting that is, according to them, more true, real and heartfelt than anything seen for 300 years. Unfortunately, the art world isn't much interested in a bunch of young iconoclasts raging against the 'Establishment' of the Royal Academy - particularly when one of that set, the shamelessly arrogant Rossetti, has yet to learn to paint. The boys need to step up a gear, and so they set out to find a muse to inspire their best work yet. Cue Fred Walters - an aspiring young journo and longtime fan of the boys. Fred spots the dazzling and radiant redhead, Lizzie Siddal, at the back of a hatshop, and introduces her to the boys. They are thoroughly bewitched by Lizzie and before long are squabbling over who'll get to paint her first (and fall in love with her too, of course). Next, they must find an influential figure to champion their work. Again with the help of Fred, they set about wooing the leading art critic of the day, the great John Ruskin. But given their lack of kudos, can they persuade Ruskin to make an appearance at an exhibition of their work? And, if they can persuade him to come, will their work be good enough to convince him to lend them his weighty support?