I've always been a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites. They aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I've always loved the stories/poems that inspired them and the inspiration the paintings provide, their stained glass colours and the way they capture the moment. For me, the exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde at Tate Britain was unmissable.
Even though I had seen many of the paintings before at exhibitions, on television or in books, I found the exhibition dazzling. Reproductions certainly don't do them justice. The colours are vibrant and the detail incredible. I found reflections, pet dogs and figures in the background that I'd never noticed before. I also realised how the asymmetric composition of some was reminiscent of Japanese art. The then new-fangled photography evidently also had an influence. Would Ford Madox Brown have included the partial figures in 'The Last of England' without the artist having seen photographic 'snapshots'?
What I loved most were the expressions the artists captured, such as those of the diners in John Everett Millais' 'Isabella'. That said, my two favourite paintings were William Holman-Hunt's 'Our English Coasts' ('Strayed Sheep') because it reminded me of summer evenings driving to Hanging Houghton, and Holman-Hunt's 'Lady of Shalott; for the madness of its loom, the  wonder of the details and the hyper-real colour.
For those who don't like the Pre-Raphaelite style, the paintings nevertheless provoke a host of stories.  Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde runs at Tate Britain until 13th January 2013. I thoroughly recommend it.