The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination


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There was some sort of undefined emotional climax — threats of suicide, hysteria — before Burne-Jones returned to Georgie. For the rest of his life he felt her steadiness and sense of moral purpose as a reproach, and things were never harmonious thereafter.

Sometimes he wrote half a dozen letters a day to one, at other times he simultaneously declared his passion for two women at once. All of this is well handled by MacCarthy. Her discussions of stained-glass and wood engraving are enlightening as well as engrossing. Especially in regard to his relationship with Morris, she can be sharp. Yet while this is the undertone, MacCarthy glosses over much.

This ruthless act is unaccompanied by any editorial comment, or even adjective, from MacCarthy. A handy phrase for an errant husband, but a surprisingly bland one from an outside observer. Ultimately, and appropriately, however, her focus is on Burne-Jones the artist. The novelist Henry James was not an admirer: Malory and King Arthur, fairy tales, myths and legends.

Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination

In Pictures - the story of love and romance: Compiled by Martin Chilton. Fiona MacCarthy's biography is scholarly but engaging and lively. It is beautiflly designed and copiously illustrated, though I wish more of Burne-Jones' own works had been included.

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Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. This was an interesting read about the Pre-Raphaelites. That would be a biography that I would love to read. By the way this ambiguous episodes of adult men corresponding with younger women and "petting" them in a quasi-platonic and quasi-erotic dalliances seemed to have been somewhat acceptable in Victorian times. Sponsored Products are advertisements for products sold by merchants on Amazon. A strange world indeed when one considers how homosexuals like Oscar Wilde or Simeon Salomon were treated by society at large.

The Last Pre-Raphaelite should become one of the essential works on Burne-Jones and his associates and the glorious artistic period in which they lived. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.

The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination

This biography of the too oft neglected artist, Edward Burne-Jones offers insight into both the creative processes and life motivations of this culturally important figure. MacCarthy manages to combine a close examination of Burne-Jones' work with a sprightly account of his eventful life. Burne-Jones' contributions to the Arts and Crafts movement through his designs for stained glass and interior furnishings is a revelation for anyone like me who knows him only through his paintings. Several rare comtemporary photographs add to MacCarthy's precise and helpful commentary about the art and the artist.

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The Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Revolutionaries (BBC Documentary) Part 1

This was an interesting read about the Pre-Raphaelites. I learned a lot along the way while be entertained. One person found this helpful. For research project-lots of info. Well written and well researched. It is well written, interesting insight into the life and times of Burne-Jones and his contemporaries plus his family life. This is a thorough and very well-written biography of Edward Burne-Jones to He comes across as a sweet-natured, loving and lovable, witty, sensitive, and workoholic person, extremely susceptible to the charms of young women and pre-pubescent girls whom he referred to as his "pets", and deeply upset when they married.

He also had a serious and fraught love affaire for a time with Maria Zambaco. All that put a great strain on his wife Georgiana, who endured all this stoically and would, after his death, write an affectionate two-volume memoir of his life omitting all mention of Maria Zambaco. We are told that all these women were at one time or another models for Burne-Jones' paintings and designs, though I must say that the faces of the women in his pictures look almost indistinguishable one from another - see for example all the maidens in one of his most famous ones, "The Golden Staircase", for whom Fiona MacCarthy provides a partial key.

Even when he draws them, beautifully, from life, they mostly look quite similar to each other. Incidentally I have been able to find only a single drawing of a young man, and that was his son. When he drew the children of his friends, it seems he drew only the daughters, never, as far as I can tell, their brothers. Burne-Jones also had a warm and touching relationship with his friend and colleague William Morris, and the biography brings out very well how very different they were: Morris short and dumpy, Burne-Jones more ethereal; Morris becoming politically increasingly radical, while Burne-Jones' temperamental liberalism sat rather uncomfortably with the high society in which he increasingly moved and which Morris despised; Burne-Jones loving Italian art while Morris increasingly turned against Italian art and found inspiration in Nordic mythologies.

But they had brealkfast together almost every Sunday, and Burne-Jones worked for Morris' company in a huge variety of media, designing tiles, tapestries, stained glass windows, and illustrations for Morris' Kelmscott Press. Of course there is a full account of Burne-Jones' huge artistic output which made him in the second half of his life the most famous English artist, although near its end he died in his work was falling out of fashion and only relatively recently have the pre-Raphaelites in general and Burne-Jones in particular recovered some respect. Burne-Jones and Morris joined the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood when they were all still quite young, and so this biography has a good deal about the complicated lives not only of Burne-Jones but of Rossetti and Millais and about their advocate John Ruskin.

If there is one minor criticism I would make of this splendid book it is that there is almost too much detail about the daily lives of Burne-Jones and all the people around him in the pages of the text. I would have preferred the author to have given us instead more of the stories behind the paintings she mentions usually without dates: Reading this book has been a most rewarding experience.

An accomplished biography of our most elusive artist

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