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Edward Burne-Jones

21st August 2018

Edward Burne-Jones, born on the 28 August 1833, was a British artist and designer, heavily involved in the later Pre-Raphaelite movement. A lifelong friend and colleague of William Morris, he was a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. his main passion was the revival of stained glass and the production of stained glass as an art form in Britain. Today, there remains an impressive collection of his stained glass around England; St Martin in the Bull Ring in Birmingham, Christ Church, Oxford, Cumbria – the church designed by Philip Webb, St.Edward the Confessor Church at Cheddleton Staffordshire to name only a few.

His earlier work shows an influence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti – he looked up to him along with Morris and Philip Webb, though by the 1860s, he had developed his own style within his work which by this point has his own distinct tone. Along with his painting and stained glass work, he was also involved with ceramic tiles, jewellery, creating tapestries and mosaics. He even tried his hand on book illustrations and designed the woodcuts for Kelmscott Press’s Chaucer in 1896. 

But before we get to that… let’s go back to the beginning. Born in Birmingham, his story with William Morris began when they met when he attended Exeter College in Oxford, studying theology. Bonding quickly over their shared interest in poetry, he brought Morris into his friendship group from home; which included John Ruskin and Tennyson, who were known as the ‘Birmingham Set’ and then dubbed themselves ‘The Brotherhood.’ During this time, none of the men knew Rossetti but simply looked up to his work and beliefs. It was even Rossetti’s influence that led Burne-Jones away from the path he was on to be a church minister as he inspired him to follow his passion to become an artist. 

We can get an insight into this period when they were building a friendship with their idol Rossetti from a letter dated February 1857 written by Rossetti and written to his friend William Bell Scott.  “Two young men, projectors of the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, have recently come up to town from Oxford, and are now very intimate friends of mine. Their names are Morris and Jones. They have turned artists instead of taking up any other career to which the university generally leads, and both are men of real genius. Jones’s designs are marvels of finish and imaginative detail, unequalled by anything unless perhaps Albert Dürer’s finest works.”

Burne-Jones married Georgiana MacDonald at 1860, the sister of one of his school friends, they had a son Philip in 1861 but tragically lost their second son in the winter of 1864 during the winter when he contracted scarlet fever; Georgiana was very ill at this time too. They moved after she had recover to 41 Kensington Square and had a daughter in 1866, they named her Margaret. 

In 1861, when William Morris found Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. with friends Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown and Philip Webb as partners in the decorative arts firm. They wanted to work together to all showcase their talents; carving, stained glass, metal work, paper-hangings, chintzes and carpets. Each partner (plus Charles Faulkner and Peter Paul Marshall) had their speciality, Burne-Jones in particular was talented with stained glass. 

Many churches around the United Kingdom feature stained glass and this sector was a huge part of their business. The work they showed at the 1862 International Exhibition really boosted them into recognition and within a few years they were flourishing. Their two notable commissions was at the South Kensington Museum (today the Victoria and Albert) in 1867 and St. James’s Palace in the late 1860s which we were lucky enough to see for ourselves! In 1871, Morris & Co. were to design the windows at All Saints, designed by Burne-Jones for Alfred Baldwin, his wife’s brother in law. Even after the firm dissolved and relaunched as Morris & Co. in 1875, Burne-Jones continued to design for their stained glass projects and also tapestries. 

We have so many blog posts on the Pre-Raphealites and William Morris, so make sure to check them out to learn more about their lives and work. 

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When the audio accurately sums up how you feel about a design 🫶🏻 Beautiful Sweet Briar was first designed in 1912, we love the sweet little pink flowers in the climbing rose stems 🌹 This licensed Morris design is now back in stock, let us know if you’d like a sample! ✨
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Our William Morris Willow Bough green placemats are now back in stock! ✨ They’re a beautiful addition to the table for every meal time 🫶🏻
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🌷 William Morris month day 30 🌷 As we come near the end of Morris month, we’re celebrating with a fabric stack, full of beautiful licensed designs, which is your fave? 🌿 “Remember that a pattern is either right or wrong. It cannot be forgiven for blundering, as a picture may be which has otherwise great qualities in it. It is with a pattern as with a fortress, it is no stronger than its weakest point.”- William Morris 🤍 
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🐭 William Morris month day 29 🐭 We’ve been loving William Morris month to celebrate Morris’s birthday month, spreading his floral magic by posting everyday - have you discovered a new favourite design of his this month? 🌿 We absolutely love these little mice and the banner by @mini_and_bob - aren’t they so lovely! 🐭🤍
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🌷William Morris Month Day 28🌷 Happy Easter weekend everyone! 🐥 We hope everyone has a lovely long bank holiday 🌿 We’re already planning some beautiful William Morris tablescapes, nothing too complex, all you need is some Morris florals, some flowers and lots of chocolate! 🐰
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🌷 William Morris Month Day 26 🌷 Absolutely loving a spring time floral on the table right now, especially when paired with an Easter craft or two! 🤍
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🌿 William Morris Month Day 25 🌿 Florals on florals on florals; all of the William Morris florals just look so beautiful together and, as Morris said himself, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” 🌷
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🐥 William Morris Month Day 23 🐥 Loving the sunshine this week for springtime 🌿 We absolutely love Willow Bough on the table in the sunshine paired with spring blooms 🌷
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🌷 William Morris Month Day 22🌷 A themed table is always our favourite, we’ve been loving setting the table lately with an Easter theme- especially when it means we can eat the eggs after! 🐣✨ 
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🌿 William Morris Day 20 🌿 William Morris fact of the day; did you know he founded the Kelmscott Press? 🖋️ He wrote of the venture – “Here is a new craft to conquer and to perfect.” Printing began at the press in Spring 1891 🪴 He designed multiple fonts including “Golden” Roman typeface and “Troy” Gothic type along with “Chaucer” and he worked to create beautiful books in regards to their designs which took into account their type, image and decorative elements – you can see beautiful examples of what he achieved today if you do a quick search on the Kelmscott Press- it’s well worth a Google! 🌷
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🌷 William Morris Month Day 19🌷 Happy first day of spring everyone! 🪴 We celebrated in our favourite way; coffee and cake of course! 🍰 Now we love florals all year round of course, but especially love adding in even more this time of year to reflect the blooms in the garden 🌷 What’s your favourite Morris design this time of year? 🌿
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📝 William Morris Month Day 18 📝 Did you know that as well as being an incredible designer, William Morris was also a brilliant writer and poet; have you read any of his writing? What’s your favourite quote? 🌷🌿
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☀️ William Morris Month Day 17 ☀️ The sunshine today has made us feel so excited for spring, it’s almost officially here! 🪴 This William Morris bunting is the dreamiest backdrop to all the spring summer days in the garden, it’s by @ellejoycreations - isn’t it fabulous!🌷
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🐰 William Morris Month Day 16 🐰 A Sunday spent Easter decorating, these cute little bunnies were a craft a few years back and they are always a firm favourite to bring out this time of year to hang on our Easter tree 🐥 Have you started decorating or eating eggs yet? 🐣
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🍓 William Morris Month Day 15 🍓 Absolutely can’t wait for the summer months to get our Strawberry Thief picnic basket and blanket back out- if you missed this craft we have a DIY on our website blog, along with a lot of other craft ideas and how-to blogs ☺️
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🍓 William Morris Month Day 14 🍓 Strawberry Thief was inspired by William Morris’s watching the thrushes under the strawberry nets at the stunning @kelmscottmanor 🌿 May Morris conjured up this scene when speaking of the design, “You can imagine my Father going out in the early morning and watching the rascally thrushes at work on the fruit beds and telling the fanned who growls ‘I’d like to wring their necks!’ that no bird in the garden must be touched. There were certainly more birds than strawberries in spite of attempts at protection. And the walls of the little dining-room are hung with this note of the June garden and the little lords of it.” 🍓 What a lovely insight into the Morris family life! 🥰
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