Edward Burne-Jones Biography

Edward Burne-Jones, an English artist and designer, was a prominent figure in the later years of the ‘Pre-Raphaelite movement.’ Born and raised in Birmingham, England, he overcame early adversity and pursued his passion for art. Initially studying theology at ‘Exeter College,’ he ultimately chose to follow his artistic calling and became renowned for his works in the ‘stained glass’ genre. Despite facing criticism for his unconventional choices, Burne-Jones’s talent and innovation eventually earned him widespread recognition and established him as a pioneer of the new ‘Aesthetic Movement.’

Quick Facts

  • British Celebrities Born In August
  • Also Known As: Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet
  • Died At Age: 64
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Georgiana Burne-Jones
    • Father: Edward Richard Jones
    • Mother: Elizabeth Coley Jones
    • Children: Philip Burne-Jones
  • Born Country: England
  • Artists
  • British Men
  • Died on: June 17, 1898
  • Place of death: London, England
  • Diseases & Disabilities: Influenza
  • Cause of Death: Illness
  • City: Birmingham, England

Childhood & Early Life

Edward Burne-Jones was born Edward Coley Burne Jones on August 28, 1833, in Birmingham, England, to Edward Richard Jones and Elizabeth Coley Jones. His mother passed away six days after his birth, leaving him to be raised by his father and a family housekeeper. Edward’s father was a well-regarded frame-maker and a religious man who served as the first influence on his son’s life. Edward attended King Edward VI Grammar School in Birmingham and developed a strong interest in the arts. He later enrolled at the Birmingham School of Art in 1848 and studied there until 1852. During this time, he also formed a society called “The Brotherhood” with his friend William Morris, where they read and discussed poetry.

Career

After finishing his education, Edward initially intended to become a church minister and enrolled at Exeter College to pursue higher education in theology. However, his love for art and poetry led him to drop his plans and start a career in the arts. In 1856-1857, he made his first oil-sketch for Bradfield College, showcasing his fascination with Dante and medieval romance. He then joined his friend William to decorate the walls of the Oxford Union, but their amateur paintings peeled off. In 1859, Edward decided to move to Italy, where his work flourished and he gained a reputation as an imaginative and talented artist. He created famous paintings such as “Sidonia von Bork” and “Clara von Bork” and also did book illustrations. In the early 1860s, he co-founded the decorative arts company Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company, which focused on carvings, stained glass windows, and metal-work. Edward’s career breakthrough came when he decorated St. James’ Palace with stained glass windows, which was showcased at an International Exhibition in 1862. He continued to gain popularity and developed his own unique style, exhibiting his work at various galleries and exhibitions.

Personal Life & Death

Edward Burne-Jones got engaged to Georgiana MacDonald in 1856 and they married in 1860. They had a son named Philip and a daughter named Margaret. Edward also had several extra-marital affairs, mostly with his models. He passed away on June 17, 1898, at the age of 64.

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