Edward Burne-Jones (Biographical details)

Edward Burne-Jones (painter/draughtsman; designer; British; Male; 1833 - 1898)

Also known as

Burne-Jones, Edward Coley; Burne-Jones, Edward


Painter, watercolourist, designer and illustrator; member of the Royal Watercolour Society (later resigned); Associate Royal Academician (resigned on Leighton's death in 1896).

Gere 1994
In 1853 Edward Jones (he did not use 'Burne' as part of his name until later) went up to Exeter College, Oxford, as a preliminary to taking Holy Orders. There he met a lifelong friend, his fellow-undergraduate William Morris (q.v.), who had had the same intention. They saw and admired Pre-Raphaelite paintings, and soon decided that their future lay in art. In 1856 Jones succeeded in meeting Rossetti, who took him on informally as a pupil, and in the summer of 1857 invited him to take part in the Oxford Union decoration (see 1885,0613.81). His earliest independent works (of which the Museum collection has no example) are pen-and-ink drawings in a detailed technique reflecting his study of early German engraving, and in subject-matter and spirit inspired by Rossetti's 'Froissartian' watercolours. In the 1860s he began to paint in watercolour, using, like Rossetti, a combination of watercolour and bodycolour. His first small-scale watercolours still show the influence of Rossetti, but already in the 'Chant d'Amour' of 1865 (see 1954,0508.16) and 'Cupid finding Psyche' of 1866 (1954,0508.8) there is a richness of colour and an amplitude of form that have been described as 'Giorgionesque'. In one sense the term 'Pre-Raphaelite' is more appropriate to him than to Holman Hunt, Millais, Madox Brown and the others: though his point of departure was the romantic mediaevalism of Rossetti, his mature work, however different in total effect, is rich in conscious echoes of Botticelli, Mantegna and other Italian masters of the fifteenth century. He was created a baronet in 1894, when he formally hyphenated his name.


S.Wildman and J.Christian (1998), 'Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer'. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Gere 1994
J. Christian, 'Edward Burne-Jones: the Hidden Humourist', BMP, 2011