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At Tate Britain

Tom Crewe: Burne-Jones

24 January 2019
... There are​ self-trained artists; then there are self-willed ones. EdwardBurne-Jones, like Vincent Van Gogh, was one of the latter. That’s to say, he decided, in 1855, to be an artist – he was studying for a theology degree at Oxford at the time – without knowing whether he was ...

At the V&A

T.J. Clark: ‘The Cult of Beauty’

19 May 2011
... vaguely spurious look, as if what mattered most about it was its sheer helplessness in the face of means-ends rationality. ‘I hope sincerely it will be all the age does not want’ (this is Burne-Jones writing about the glorious Kelmscott Chaucer): ‘I have omitted nothing I could think of to obstruct the onward march of the world … I have done all I can to impede progress … having put my hand ...

Fancy Dress

Peter Campbell: Millais, Burne-Jones​ and Leighton

15 April 1999
Millais: Portraits 
by Peter Funnell and Malcolm Warner.
National Portrait Gallery, 224 pp., £35, February 1999, 1 85514 255 4
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John Everett Millais 
by G.H. Fleming.
Constable, 318 pp., £20, August 1998, 0 09 478560 0
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Edward Burne-JonesVictorian Artist-Dreamer 
by Stephen Wildman and John Christian.
Abrams, 360 pp., £48, October 1998, 0 8109 6522 4
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Frederic Leighton: Antiquity, Renaissance, Modernity 
edited by Tim Barringer and Elizabeth Prettejohn.
Yale, 332 pp., £40, March 1999, 0 300 07937 0
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... he was very good at doing a job which was well understood. And like a popular novelist (his Trollope illustrations are among the best made for 19th-century fiction), he was at one with his public. Burne-Jones, who has had a better posthumous press and prices, was a bohemian. He was making beautiful paintings when you could call a painting ‘beautiful’ in much the same way you could a girl, a horse or a ...

‘We would rather eat our cake than merely have it’

Rosemary Hill: Victorian men and women

4 October 2001
A Circle of Sisters: Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin 
by Judith Flanders.
Penguin, 392 pp., £17.99, September 2001, 0 670 88673 4
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The Hated Wife: Carrie Kipling 1862-1939 
by Adam Nicolson.
Short Books, 96 pp., £4.99, May 2001, 0 571 20835 5
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Victorian Diaries: The Daily Lives of Victorian Men and Women 
edited by Heather Creaton.
Mitchell Beazley, 144 pp., £14.99, February 2001, 1 84000 359 6
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... time, children, little seen or heard. Ruskin is a recurring nuisance. We sympathise with Georgiana Macdonald, an independent woman tied by an early marriage to the demanding, fickle, hypochondriac EdwardBurne-Jones, who first took sick on their wedding night – the intended honeymoon was in Paris, but they got no further than Chester. The Macdonald family’s origins were modest. They were from ...

Angela and Son

Dan Jacobson

2 August 1984
Inside Outsider: The Life and Times of Colin MacInnes 
by Tony Gould.
Chatto, 261 pp., £12.50, September 1983, 0 7011 2678 7
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... become writers. In Colin MacInnes’s case, one might say that some of the most interesting parts of his life took place before he was born. He was the great-grandchild of the Pre-Raphaelite painter, EdwardBurne-Jones, and was thus connected with both the Kipling and the Baldwin families; he was the grandson of an Oxford Professor of Poetry (of no great distinction, it must be admitted); and the son of ...

Christina and the Sid

Penelope Fitzgerald

18 March 1982
Christina Rossetti: A Divided Life 
by Georgina Battiscombe.
Constable, 233 pp., £9.50, May 1981, 0 09 461950 6
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The Golden Veil 
by Paddy Kitchen.
Hamish Hamilton, 286 pp., £7.95, May 1981, 0 241 10584 6
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The Little Holland House Album 
by Edward Burne-Jones and John Christian.
Dalrymple Press, 39 pp., £38, April 1981, 0 9507301 0 6
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... so the Burne-Joneses thought) acted as a forcing influence on his Sid until her strength gave way. These princely powers of Rossetti, exerted quite carelessly and even unintentionally, made the young Burne-Jones his disciple. ‘I would have been chopped up for Gabriel,’ he said. Rossetti supervised him, tried to jolly him along, and introduced him everywhere. In the July of 1857, when Burne-Jones was 24 ...

Down the Telescope

Nicholas Penny: The Art of Imitation

24 January 2019
Modern Painters, Old Masters: The Art of Imitation from the Pre-Raphaelites to the First World War 
by Elizabeth Prettejohn.
Yale, 286 pp., £45, June 2017, 978 0 300 22275 3
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... Noting the way in which he alludes to A Man in Armour in the National Gallery, then often still attributed to Giorgione, she refers to its possible influence on George Frederic Watts in the 1860s and EdwardBurne-Jones in the 1870s. It also influenced Pater’s own fiction, as readers of Marius the Epicurean (1885) will appreciate: the young knight Cornelius tries on his armour ‘and as he gleamed ...
18 September 1997
Rare Spirit: A Life of William De Morgan 1839-1917 
by Mark Hamilton.
Constable, 236 pp., £22.50, September 1997, 0 09 474670 2
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... after the ‘great silent libraries’, and the ‘intoxicating traditions of ancient learning’, which in the early 1850s fired the imaginations of the Oxford undergraduates William Morris and Edward Burne Jones. But De Morgan was enrolled at University College, where there was no scope for picturesque medievalism. The spirit of place did not haunt Gower Street. Having failed to get a degree, De ...

Oh! – only Oh!

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Burne-Jones

9 February 2012
The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones​ and the Victorian Imagination 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 629 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 571 22861 4
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... Edward Jones – the Burne came later – was born in Birmingham to a mother who died giving birth to him and a father who eked out a living as a frame-maker, although art, his son reported, ‘was always a ...
23 February 1995
William Morris: A Life for Our Time 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 780 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 571 14250 8
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... overlooked. Morris was born in 1834, the child of a wealthy financier, and after school at Marlborough went up to post-Newmanite Oxford to encounter Ruskin and (in the form of his lifelong colleague EdwardBurne-Jones) Pre-Raphaelitism. After Oxford, he and his friends set up an arts and crafts workshop in Red Lion Square and helped to paint the Arthurian murals in the Oxford Union, while Morris ...

In the Potato Patch

Jenny Turner: Penelope Fitzgerald

19 December 2013
Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 508 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 7011 8495 7
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... until she was nearly sixty: it’s difficult to compute. Offshore was Penelope Fitzgerald’s third novel and fifth book; her first books had been biographies, of her father’s famous family and of EdwardBurne-Jones. She was 62 when she won the Booker, a widow and the mother of three grown-up children, and although no longer in straits as desperate as those she had drawn on for the novel, she was ...
24 October 1991
Ford Madox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite Circle 
by Teresa Newman and Ray Watkinson.
Chatto, 226 pp., £50, July 1991, 0 7011 3186 1
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... teens. At 14 he enrolled at the Academy in Bruges, where he was impressed by Flemish painting. Later he studied at Ghent and in the Antwerp Academy. Unlike William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, or EdwardBurne-Jones, Brown profited from a broad and thorough education in the business of painting. Later, his art became a passion and a vocation. But it never ceased to be a job from which a living had ...

Ripping the pig

Robert Bernard Martin

5 August 1982
The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson: Vol. 1 1821-1850 
edited by Cecil Lang and Edgar Shannon.
Oxford, 366 pp., £17.50, February 1982, 0 19 812569 0
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Tennyson: ‘In Memoriam’ 
edited by Susan Shatto and Marion Shaw.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1982, 0 19 812747 2
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... Two months after Tennyson’s death Burne-Jones was reluctantly following the instructions of the poet’s widow and son in repainting the portrait of Tennyson as a young man which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Emily Tennyson had ...

Sheets

Robert Bernard Martin

4 April 1985
The Collected Letters of William Morris. Vol. I: 1848-1880 
edited by Norman Kelvin.
Princeton, 626 pp., £50.30, April 1984, 0 691 06501 2
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... letters are concerned with the threatened ‘restoration’ of Tewkesbury Abbey, St Cross Hospital, the cathedrals at Ely and St Albans, and St Mark’s in Venice. In September 1880 he told Georgiana Burne-Jones: ‘I have more than ever at my heart the importance for people of living in beautiful places; I mean the sort of beauty which would be attainable by all, if people could but begin to long for it. I ...

Super-Real

Peter Campbell

18 March 1982
The Pre-Raphaelites 
by Christopher Wood.
Weidenfeld, 160 pp., £18, October 1981, 0 297 78007 7
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The Diary of Ford Madox Brown 
edited by Virginia Surtees.
Yale, 237 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 300 02743 5
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Eric Gill: Man of Flesh and Spirit 
by Malcolm Yorke.
Constable, 304 pp., £12.50, November 1981, 0 09 463740 7
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... elevated sort – is clear enough. The results evoke responses which are nothing like as simple. From the first the Pre-Raphaelites were able to rouse both anger and admiration; a Soho sex shop with Burne-Jones posters as its sole window decoration suggests that whatever it was about their work that made people uneasy still tells. Pre-Raphaelite pictures can be memorable even when they are unlikeable ...

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