Actually, if there’s a Victorian artist you do know, it’s probably John William Waterhouse. Prints of his paintings are quite popular, and it’s not hard to see why. He
combines the dreamy Romanticism of the Pre-Raphaelites with a bold
modeling of forms and an optical integrity that suggests a nearly
photographic realism, however free his treatment of the paint surface.
His process seems to have involved a strict linear draftsmanship to
which he applied sketchy strokes of paint as he worked out the color
scheme of the final image.
He then blended the colors into more modeled forms for the finished
work, but retained something of the freshness of his sketches.
Impressionism was a stage in his process, never an end in itself.
His primary goal was narrative suggestiveness and the creation of a
world, theatrical as it might be, which convinced the eye with the
illusion of space and stereometric forms. Note the sharp relief
of the figures in the painting at the head of this post and the
sketchier view of the coast behind them. The contrast of
treatment itself creates a sense of deeper space.
Andrew Lloyd Webber owns the painting below. I’d have bought it, too, if I had his resources — it’s just miraculous: