ARTHURIAN ART

Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898)

   Edward Coley Burne-Jones was born in Birmingham, England in 1833. In his youth, he showed little inclination towards the arts. He went off to Oxford to study theology where he met William Morris who was to become his lifelong friend.
   After attending an exhibition of work by Rossetti, Burne-Jones resolved to become a painter. He worked at this new desire while he continued his studies for two years until he finally met Rossetti in person. Burne-Jones became Rossetti's pupil in 1855. Under his tutelage, Burne-Jones gained respect as an artist and later a master in the art of stained glass windows. Because of this relationship, many of Burne-Jones's early paintings exhibit Rossetti-like qualities.
   He traveled to Italy in 1859 and 1862, where he began to develop his own style. As well as paintings, he produced numerous decorative works for William Morris's company - book illustrations, tapestries, and stained-glass windows.
   He became ARA in 1885 only to resign some years later after exhibiting only one picture at the Academy. His honours include Corresponding Member of the Institute of France. He was created a baronet in 1894.
   Burne-Jones's favorite subjects were graceful girls, angels, gods and heroes. Most of the works exhibit a high degree of languor, a sleepy almost unearthly dreaminess that gives his works an unearthly quality. This can be seen in his Beguiling of Merlin.
   He had a habit of returning to unfinished works often after many years making it more difficult to define changes in his style difficult to discern changes in his style.
   His output was prodigious - over 1000 pieces for stained glass alone. He finished over 200 oil paintings during his lifetime.

Beguiling of Merlin
Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon
Lancelot at the Chapel of the Holy Grail
Morgan le Fay
Merlin and Nimüe


The Grail Quest Beginning Tapestry
Quest for the Holy Grail: The Achievement Tapestry