Edward Burne-Jones
British Pre-Raphaelite painter



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Edward Burne-Jones
British Pre-Raphaelite painter
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Date of Birth

August 28, 1833

Date of Death

June 17, 1898

Place of Death

London, United Kingdom

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Burne-Jones was this close to becoming a priest but, luckily for the art world, was drawn away at the last second.

Ned Jones was born in 1833, just a poor boy from a poor family. His father was a frame-maker and his mother died of scarlet fever a few days after his birth. He found a replacement mommy in the family’s housekeeper, and led as normal a life as any 19th century kid. He attended grammar school followed by art school, followed by a stint at Oxford studying theology. All signs pointed to li'l Ned becoming a minister until he met two people who would change the course of his entire life: William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Burne-Jones and Morris were classmates and soon after meeting became friends. They had a mutual interest in poetry of Romantics like Tennyson and the writings of John Ruskin. They "visited churches and worshipped the Middle Ages and its literature.” Soon the pair met Dante Gabriel Rossetti. They had known about him before they actually met him, and when Rossetti said that maybe they should be artists, both Burne-Jones and Morris jumped at the idea. Rossetti said of Burne-Jones’ talent, “Jones's designs are marvels of finish and imaginative detail, unequaled by anything unless perhaps Albert Dürer's finest works.” Needless to say, Burne-Jones dropped out of Oxford and never looked back. He was part of the second wave of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and once you’re a brother, you’re a brother for life.

At the tender age of 23, Burne-Jones married Georgie MacDonald, who was also a painter. (Fun fact: her sisters were the mothers of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and the poet Rudyard Kipling.) Burne-Jones had a really really hard time keeping it in his pants though, and ended up having an affair with one of his models, the Anglo-Greek, Maria Zambaco. His marriage was never the same afterwards, and funnily enough neither was his friendship with William Morris, who sided with Georgie in the scandal because his own wife also had an extramarital affair (with Rossetti). Real classy group we got here.

Burne-Jones may not be known as the most faithful husband, but he is known for his astounding body of work across many mediums. He worked with painting (obviously), ceramic tiles, stained glass, large-scale tapestries, and illustrated books. And because he was Burne-Jones, they were all amazing. His awards include but are not limited to an honorary degree from Oxford, a baronetcy (hence the “sir”), the presidency of the Birmingham Society of Artists, and a feature in the movie "An Education," directed by Lone Scherfig, which everyone should watch.



  1. "Edward Burne-Jones Biography (1833-1898) - Life Of An English Artist." Totally History. Accessed September 21, 2018.
  2. Flanders, Judith. A Circle Of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter And Louisa Baldwin. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2005. Accessed September 21, 2018.
  3. Johnson, Ken. "Pining For A Burnished Time, Long Ago And Far Away." 2014. Last modified June 5, 2014. Accessed September 21, 2018.
  4. "Jones, Sir Edward Coley Burne-, First Baronet." Accessed September 21, 2018.
  5. "Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1St Baronet | British Painter." Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed September 21, 2018.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Edward Burne-Jones

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet, ARA (/bɜːnˈdʒəʊnz/; 28 August 1833 – 17 June 1898) was a British artist and designer associated with the phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked with William Morris on decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.

Burne-Jones was involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in Britain; his works include windows in St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham, Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square, Chelsea, St Peter and St Paul parish church in Cromer, St Martin's Church in Brampton, Cumbria (the church designed by Philip Webb), St Michael's Church, Brighton, Trinity Church in Frome, All Saints, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, St Edmund Hall and Christ Church, two colleges of the University of Oxford. His stained glass works also feature in St. Anne's Church, Brown Edge, Staffordshire Moorlands and St. Edward the Confessor church at Cheddleton Staffordshire. Burne-Jones's early paintings show the inspiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1860s Burne-Jones was discovering his own artistic "voice".

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. Burne-Jones worked in crafts; including designing ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries and mosaics.

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