Sir Edward Burne-Jones

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Burne-Jones, Sir Edward,

1833–98. English painter and decorator, b. Birmingham. Expected to enter the Church, he went to Exeter College, Oxford, where he met William MorrisMorris, William,
1834–96, English poet, artist, craftsman, designer, social reformer, and printer. He has long been considered one of the great Victorians and has been called the greatest English designer of the 19th cent.
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, who became his lifelong friend. He left Oxford to study painting with Rossetti in London and joined the Pre-RaphaelitesPre-Raphaelites
, brotherhood of English painters and poets formed in 1848 in protest against what they saw as the low standards and decadence of British art. The principal founders were D. G. Rossetti, W.
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. Burne-Jones's early work shows Rossetti's strong influence, which was later replaced by his emulation of Botticelli and Mantegna. Burne-Jones rose to success in 1877 with the opening of the Grosvenor Gallery. Among his well-known paintings are King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid (1884; Tate Gall., London); Depths of the Sea; and Star of Bethlehem (Birmingham Gall.). His works described a dreamlike, medieval world, a vision popular with his contemporaries. His designs for stained glass, executed by Morris and Company, may be seen in churches throughout England. Burne-Jones also created the woodcut illustrations for the Kelmscott Press edition of the works of Chaucer. In his day he received many honors, and his delicate, though mannered, work continues to be admired.

Bibliography

See his drawings, studies, and paintings, ed. by Piccadilly Gallery (1971); biographies by P. Fitzgerald (1975, repr. 1997) and F. MacCarthy (2012); studies by L. D. Cecil (1960) and M. Harrison and B. Waters (1973).