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Edward Burne-Jones

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Dawn Moline
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« on: January 21, 2008, 04:17:51 pm »

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet (28 August 1833–17 June 1898) was an English artist and designer closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and largely responsible for bringing the Pre-Raphaelites into the mainstream of the British art world, while at the same time executing some of the most exquisite and beautiful artwork of the time.
Burne-Jones was born in Birmingham, the son a frame-maker at Bennetts Hill, where a blue plaque commemorates his birth. His mother died within six days of his birth, and he was raised by his father and an unsympathetic housekeeper. He attended Birmingham's King Edward VI grammar school, and then studied theology at Exeter College, Oxford. At Oxford he became a friend of William Morris as a consequence of a mutual interest in poetry, and was influenced by John Ruskin. At this time he discovered Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur which was to be so influential in his life.

He studied under Rossetti, but developed his own style influenced by his travels in Italy with Ruskin and others. He had intended to become a church minister, but under Morris's influence decided to become an artist and designer instead. After Oxford, from which he did not take a degree, he became closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in England; his stained glass works include the windows of St Martin's Church in Brampton, Cumbria, the church designed by Philip Webb.


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Dawn Moline
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2008, 04:18:17 pm »

In 1856 Burne-Jones became engaged to Georgiana MacDonald (1840–1920), one of the MacDonald sisters. She was training to be a painter, and was the sister of Burne-Jones's old school friend. The couple married in 1860, after which she made her own work in woodcuts and became a close friend of George Eliot. (Another MacDonald sister married the artist Sir Edward Poynter, a further sister married the ironmaster Alfred Baldwin and was the mother of the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, and yet another sister was the mother of Rudyard Kipling. Kipling and Baldwin were thus Burne-Jones's nephews).

In 1867 Burne-Jones and his wife settled in Fulham, London. Morris later fell in love with Georgiana, but she rejected him. For much of the 1870s Burne-Jones did not exhibit, following a spate of bitterly hostile attacks in the press, and an affair with his Greek model Maria Zambaco which ended with her trying to commit suicide in public.

In 1880 the Burne-Joneses bought Prospect House in Rottingdean, near Brighton in Sussex, as their holiday home, and soon after the next door Aubrey Cottage to create North End House, reflecting the fact that their Fulham home was in North End Road. (Years later, in 1923, Sir Roderick Jones, head of Reuters, and his wife, playwright and novelist Enid Bagnold, were to add the adjacent Gothic House to the property and which became the inspiration and setting for her play The Chalk Garden).

His troubled son Philip (1861–1926) became a successful portrait painter. His adored daughter Margaret (1866–1953) married John William Mackail (1850–1945); friend and biographer of Morris, and Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1911–1916.

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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2008, 04:18:54 pm »

In 1877, he was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery (a new rival to the Royal Academy). These included The Beguiling of Merlin. The timing was right, and he was taken up as a herald and star of the new Aesthetic Movement.

As well as painting, he also worked in a variety of crafts; including designing ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, book illustration (the Kelmscott Press's Chaucer in 1896), and stage costumes.


In 1881 he received an honorary degree from Oxford, and was made an Honorary Fellow in 1883. In 1885 he became the President of the Birmingham Society of Artists. On the recommendation of W E Gladstone, he was created a baronet in the baronetage of the United Kingdom in 1894, but was unhappy about accepting the honour, and he told friends that the contempt of his wife for it was ‘withering.’ Devastated by the death of his friend Morris in 1896, Burne-Jones' health declined substantially until his death on 17 June 1898. Six days later, at the intervention of the Prince of Wales, a memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey. It was the first time an artist had been so honoured. Burne-Jones was buried in Rottingdean churchyard, near Brighton, a place he knew through summer family holidays.

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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2008, 04:19:31 pm »

Long out-of-fashion in the art world, due to Modernist art and Abstract Expressionism, it was not until the mid 1970s that his work began to be re-assessed and once again acclaimed.

Burne-Jones exerted a considerable influence on British painting, as detailed in the large exhibition in 1989 at the Barbican Art Gallery, London. (In book form as: John Christian, The Last Romantics, (1989)). Burne-Jones was also highly influential among French symbolist painters, from 1889. His work also inspired poetry by Swinburne — Swinburne's 1886 Poems & Ballads is dedicated to Burne-Jones.
Two of Burne-Jones' studio assistants, T.M. Rooke and Charles Fairfax Murray, went on to a successful art careers as painters in their own right. Murray later became an important collector and respected art dealer. Between 1903 and 1907 he sold a great many works by Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelites to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, at far below their market worth. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery now has the largest collection of works by Burne-Jones in the world, including the massive watercolour Star of Bethlehem, commissioned for the Gallery in 1897. The paintings are believed by some to have influenced the young J.R.R. Tolkien, then growing up in Birmingham.

Burne-Jones was a very strong influence on the Birmingham Group of artists, from the 1890s onwards.


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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2008, 04:20:22 pm »



Love Among the Ruins, by Edward Burne-Jones
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2008, 04:21:14 pm »



"David's Charge to Solomon" (1882), a stained-glass window by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, in Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts.
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2008, 04:22:00 pm »



Detail from Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris' 1882 The Worship of the Shepherds window in Trinity Church, Boston
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2008, 04:23:15 pm »



"King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid," 1884, by Edward Burne-Jones, currently hangs in the Tate Gallery, London.
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2008, 04:25:16 pm »



The Vision of the Holy Grail, tapestry, 1890, figures by Burne-Jones.
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2008, 11:15:21 pm »



The Beguiling of Merlin, 1874, by en:Edward Burne Jones (1833-1898)
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2008, 11:16:39 pm »



The Princess Sabra Led to the Dragon Painting Date: 1866 Medium: Oil on canvas Location: Private Collection
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2008, 11:17:57 pm »

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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2008, 11:19:13 pm »



The Wheel of Fortune
Year 1875-83
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2008, 11:20:46 pm »



"The Morning of the Resurrection"
Year 1882
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2008, 11:24:17 pm »



Philip Burne-Jones: After the Bath (1908)
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