Memoirs

Memoirs is in Sources.

Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones

Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones was written by his wife Georgiana Macdonald 1840-1920 and published in 1906 by The Macmillan Company.

1863. Edward Coley Burne-Jones Painter Baronet 1833-1898. Portrait of his wife Georgiana Macdonald 1840-1920.1868. Edward Coley Burne-Jones Painter Baronet 1833-1898. Woman's Head. Study of Le Chant D'Amour. Probably his wife Georgiana Macdonald 1840-1920.From 1883. Edward Coley Burne-Jones Painter Baronet 1833-1898. Portrait of his wife Georgiana Macdonald 1840-1920 and their children Philip Burne-Jones 1861- and Margaret Burne-Jones 1866-1953.1884. Edward Coley Burne-Jones Painter Baronet 1833-1898. King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid. Model probably the artists wife Georgiana Macdonald 1840-1920. Inspired by Tennyson's poem The Beggar Maid. The painting was purchased Edward Stuart Wortley Mackenzie 1st Earl Wharncliffe 1827-1899.1870. Edward Poynter Painter Baronet 1836-1919. Portrait of Georgiana Macdonald 1840-1920.

Edward Coley Burne-Jones Painter Baronet 1833-1898 aged 37 from the portrait by George Frederick Watts Painter Sculptor 1817-1904.

Since the time that Rossetti was called away from Oxford, in October, 1857, by the illness of Miss Siddal (30), he and Edward (26) had been less together, but there had been no decrease of affection between them, and so it was of the most vital interest to us when we learnt that Gabriel (32) was to be married about the same time as ourselves. He and Edward at once built up a plan for our all four meeting in Paris as soon as possible afterwards; I went home to Manchester to make my preparations, and it was decided that the fourth anniversary of our engagement, the 9th of June, should be our wedding-day. The conditions on which we started life were, pradically no debts, except of work to Mr. Flint, and the possession of about £30 in ready money; and I brought with me a small deal table with a drawer in it that held my wood-engraving tools. Three days before our marriage, however, came a note from the unfailing Mr. Flint : "The two pen-and-ink drawings are to hand to-day. I enclose order for £25 which you may need just now."So here was riches.

Around 1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Seated on the Ground.Around 1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Elizabeth Siddal – Study for Delia in 'The Return of Tibullus to Delia'.1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Reading.1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Seated at a Window.Between 1854 and 1855. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Seated at an Easel, Painting.1855. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal in a Chair.From 1864 to 1870. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Beata Beatrix. Model Elizabeth Siddal Model 1829-1862.1851 to 1852. John Everett Millais Painter Baronet 1829-1896. Ophelia. Hamlet Act IV Scene 7 Part IV in which Queen Gertrude describes Ophelia's death to Laertes. Millais painted the scene near Tolworth using the River Hogsmill. Elizabeth Siddal Model 1829-1862 modelled in a bath-tub at 7 Gower Street. Note the initials PRB bottom right next to his name.

The 9th of June fell on a Saturday, and we decided to go no further that day than to Chester, where we should see its curious streets and attend service at the Cathedral on Sunday; Gabriel (32) and his wife (30) were by this time in Paris, and we hoped to join them a few days later. But this was not in store for us, for unhappily Edward had been caught in a rain-storm a day or two before and already had a slight sore-throat, which now so quickly grew worse that by noon on Sunday he was almost speechless from it and in the hands of a strange doftor. This illness was a sharp check, and we found ourselves shut up for some days in a dreary hotel in an unknown place; but a gleam of satisfadion reached us when the doctor spoke of me to Edward as "your good lady,""and gave me diredions about what was to be done for the patient, with no apparent suspicion that I had not often nursed him before. Trusting in this and in some half-used reels of sewing cotton ostentatiously left about, as well as a display of boots which had already been worn, we felt great confidence that no one would guess how ignominiously newly-married we were.

Around 1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Seated on the Ground.Around 1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Elizabeth Siddal – Study for Delia in 'The Return of Tibullus to Delia'.1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Reading.1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Seated at a Window.Between 1854 and 1855. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Seated at an Easel, Painting.1855. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal in a Chair.From 1864 to 1870. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Beata Beatrix. Model Elizabeth Siddal Model 1829-1862.1851 to 1852. John Everett Millais Painter Baronet 1829-1896. Ophelia. Hamlet Act IV Scene 7 Part IV in which Queen Gertrude describes Ophelia's death to Laertes. Millais painted the scene near Tolworth using the River Hogsmill. Elizabeth Siddal Model 1829-1862 modelled in a bath-tub at 7 Gower Street. Note the initials PRB bottom right next to his name.

It was quite clear that we must give up Paris and get to our own home as soon as the doctor gave Edward (26) leave to travel; so ruefully enough I wrote to Gabriel (32) and told him how things were; and his answer was a comfort to us, for he reported that they were both tired of "dragging about,"and looked forward with pleasure to sitting down again with their friends in London as soon as possible. "Lizzie (30) and I are likely to come back with two dogs,"he continues, "a big one and a little one. We have called the latter Punch in memory partly of a passage in Samuel_Pepys'_Diary_30_April_1669{Pepys's Diary}, "But in the street. Lord, how I did laugh to hear poor common persons call their fat child Punch, which name I do perceive to be good for all that is short and thick."We have got the book with us from Mudie's, and meant to have yelled over it in company if you had come to Paris. We are now reading Boswell's Johnson, which is almost as rich in some parts."This reading of Boswell resulted in the water-colour drawing of "Dr. Johnson at the Mitre "which Rossetti brought back with him from Paris.

Our own home-coming was informal, for Russell Place had not expected us so soon and was unprepared to receive us; there were no chairs in our dining-room, nor any other furniture that had been ordered except a table. But what did that matter? if there were no chairs there was the table, a good, firm one of oak, sitting upon which the bride received her first visitors, and as the studio was in its usual condition there was a home at once. The boys at the Boys Home in Euston Road had made the table from the design of Philip Webb (29), and were busy with chairs and a sofa, which presently arrived. The chairs were high-backed black ones with rush seats, and the companion sofa was of panelled wood painted black. The chairs have disappeared, for they were smaller articles, vigorously used and much moved about, but the table and sofa have always shared the fortunes of their owners and were never superseded: we ate our last meal together at that table and our grandchildren laugh round it now. How modest the scale of our housekeeping was it would be hard to say, and also how rich we felt : "we live in great happiness and thankfulness"was the clue given my friend Charlotte as to our estate.

William Allingham came over from Ireland this summer, and was, I believe, the first friend I made in my new life. How well I remember his visit, even to where he stood in the room and the way the light fell upon him. He was a distinguished-looking man, though not tall; dark, with a fine cast of face and most Irish eyes — light in the darkness; his thick black hair was brushed close to his head and parted in the middle, but rippled in smooth, close lines that no brush aould straighten. He was disposed to convince me that I was a sister of George MacDonald the novelist, for the dramatis personae of his life were of importance to him and this arrangement fitted in well with his conception of their order. His conversation was extremely interesting; serious in manner, with an attractive reserve which yet gave the impression that he cared for sympathy, and an evident minute interest in all that passed before him; a good companion, ready to talk and easily amused. He did not stay long in London, having to return to Ballyshannon, his native place, where at that time he had an appointment in the Customs, but the threefold friendship then begun never ceased.

In the unsettled week before his marriage Edward had amused himself by painting some figures upon a plain deal sideboard which he possessed, and this in its new state was a delightful surprise to find. "Ladies and animals"he called the subjects illustrated, and there were seven pictures, three on the cupboard doors in front and two at each end, which shewed them in various relations to each other. Three kind and attentive ladies were feeding pigs, parrots and fishes; two cruel ones were tormenting an owl by forcing him to look at himself in a round mirror, and gold fish by draining them dry in a net; while two more were expiating such sins in terror at a hideous newt upon the garden path and the assault of a swarm of angry bees. Mrs. Catherwood gave us a piano, made by Priestly of Berners Street, who had patented a small one of inoffensive shape that we had seen and admired at Madox Brown's (39) house; we had ours made of unpolished American walnut, a perfectly plain wood of pleasing colour, so that Edward could paint upon it. The little instrument when opened shows inside the lid a very early design for the "Chant d' Amour,"and on the panel beneath the keyboard there is a gilded and lacquered picture of Death, veiled and crowned, standing outside the gate of a garden where a number of girls, unconscious of his approach, are resting and listening to music. The lacquering of this panel was an exciting process, for its colour had to be be deepened by heat while still liquid, and Edward used a red-hot poker for the work.

Rossetti (32)  and his wife (30), after their return from Paris, took a lodging at Hampstead, but she was so ill at first that we never saw her till near the end of July, when to our great delight a day was fixed for the deferred meeting, and Gabriel suggested that it should take place at the Zoological Gardens. "The Wombat's Lair "was the assignation that he gave to the Madox Browns and to us. A mention of this meeting in a letter that I wrote next day gives the impression of the adlual time : "She was well enough to see us, and I find her as beautiful as imagination, poor thing."

Around 1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Seated on the Ground.Around 1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Elizabeth Siddal – Study for Delia in 'The Return of Tibullus to Delia'.1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Reading.1854. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Seated at a Window.Between 1854 and 1855. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal Seated at an Easel, Painting.1855. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Elizabeth Siddal in a Chair.From 1864 to 1870. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Beata Beatrix. Model Elizabeth Siddal Model 1829-1862.1851 to 1852. John Everett Millais Painter Baronet 1829-1896. Ophelia. Hamlet Act IV Scene 7 Part IV in which Queen Gertrude describes Ophelia's death to Laertes. Millais painted the scene near Tolworth using the River Hogsmill. Elizabeth Siddal Model 1829-1862 modelled in a bath-tub at 7 Gower Street. Note the initials PRB bottom right next to his name.

I wish I could recall more details of that day — of the wombat's reception of us, and of the other beasts we visited — but can only remember a passing call on the owls, between one of whom and Gabriel (32)  there was a feud. The moment their eyes met they seemed to rush at each other, Gabriel rattling his stick between the cage bars furiously and the owl almost barking with rage. Lizzie's (30)  slender, elegant figure — tall for those days, but I never knew her actual height — comes back to me, in a graceful and simple dress, the incarnate opposite of the " tailor-made " young lady. We went home with them to their rooms at Hampstead, and I know that I then received an impression which never wore away, of romance and tragedy between her and her husband. I see her in the little upstairs bedroom with its lattice window, to which she carried me when we arrived, and the mass of her beautiful deep-red hair as she took off her bonnet : she wore her hair very loosely fastened up, so that it fell in soft, heavy wings. Her complexion looked as if a rose tint lay beneath the white skin, producing a most soft and delicate pink for the darkest flesh-tone. Her eyes were of a kind of golden brown — agate-colour is the only word I can think of to describe them — and wonderfully luminous: in all Gabriel's drawings of her and in the type she created in his mind this is to be seen. The eyelids were deep, but without any languor or drowsiness, and had the peculiarity of seeming scarcely to veil the light in her eyes when she was looking down.
Whilst we were in her room she shewed me a design she had just made, called "The Woeful Victory" — then the vision passes.

A little later and we were with the Morrises (26)  in their new house at Upton, and the time we spent together there was one to swear by, if human happiness were doubted.
First was the arrival at Abbey Wood Station, a country place in those days, where a thin fresh air full of sweet smells met us as we walked down the platform, and outside was the wagonette sent from Red House  to meet us; then a pull up the hill and a swinging drive of three miles of winding road on the higher land until, passing "Hog's Hole" on the left, we stopped at our friends' gate. I think Morris (26)  must have brought us down from town himself, for I can see the tall figure of a girl standing alone in the porch to receive us.
It was not a large house, as I have said, but purpose and proportion had been so skilfully observed in its design as to arrange for all reasonable demands and leave an impression of ample space everywhere. It stood facing a little west of north, but the longest line of the building had a sunny frontage of west by south, and beneath its windows stretched a green bowling alley where the men used to play when work was over. For it was by no means on a holiday that Edward had come down, nor only to enjoy the company of his friend again, but that they might consult together about the decoration of the house, of which much is said in the Notes from which I have so often quoted.
"The house was strongly built of red brick, and red tiled : the porches were deep and the plan of the house was two sides of a quadrangle. In the angle was a covered well. As we talked of decorating it plans grew apace. We fixed upon a romance for the drawing-room, a great favourite of ours called Sir Degrevaunt. I designed seven pictures from that poem, of which I painted three that summer and autumn in tempera. We schemed also subjcfts from Troy for the hall, and a great ship carrying Greek heroes for a larger space in the hall, but these remained only as schemes, none were designed except the ship. The great settle from Red lion Square, with the three painted shutters above the scat, was put up at the end of the drawing-room, and there was a ladder to its top and a parapet round it, and a little door above, in the wall behind it, that led into the roof. There at Christmas time it was intended that minstrels should play and sing. I began a pidure from the Niebe- lungen Lied on the inside of one of the shutters of this settle, and Morris painted in tempera a hanging below the Degrevaunt pictures, of bushy trees and parrots and labels on which he wrote the motto he adopted for his life, 'If I can.' He worked hard at this and the room began to look very beautiful."
On one of his visits to Red House Rossetti found many of these labels still blank, waiting for the words "If I can," and in his reckless way instantly filled them with another motto, "As I can't." When Morris saw this pleasantry, Edward said, "it would have puzzled the discriminator of words to know which of those two was most eloquent in violent English."

Charles Faulkner (27)  came down a couple of days after we did, and helped to paint patterns on walls and ceilings, and played bowls in the alley, and in intervals between work joined in triangular bear-fights in the drawing-room. Once, in the middle of a scrimmage that had surged up the steps into the "Minstrels' Gallery" he suddenly leapt clear over the parapet into the middle of the floor with an astounding noise; another time he stored windfallen apples in the gallery and defended himself with them against all comers until a too well-delivered apple gave Morris (26)  a black eye; and then, remembering that Morris had promised to give away one of his sisters at her marriage a day or two afterwards, Edward and Faulkner left him no peace from their anticipations of the discredit his appearance would bring upon the ceremony.

A few days before this we had been telling each other riddles, and one of us asked, "Who killed his brother Cain?" Morris (26)  instantly fell into the trap and shouted, "Abel, of course!" amidst a peal of laughter from us all. Afterwards he thought it very funny himself, so on his return from the wedding we were not surprised to learn that he had amused the company at breakfast by trying the trick on some one else. "I asked the parson" — he told us triumphantly — "I asked him 'Who killed his brother Abel?' and when of course he said 'Cain,' I said 'Hah! I knew you'd say that — every one says it.'" And we laughed again, more than before.

Oh, how happy we were, Janey (20)  and I, busy in the morning with needlework or wood-engraving, and in the afternoon driving to explore the country round by the help of a map of Kent; we went to the Crays one day and to Chislehurst Common another, finding some fresh pleasure everywhere and bringing back tales of our adventures to amuse the men we had left working at home. Sometimes, but not often, they would go with us, for Edward always hated "expeditions," and was only supported in them by good fellowship; nor did he at any time seek the country for its own sake. At this I have often wondered, for the backgrounds of his pictures shew how deeply it touched his imagination and feeling: and I came to the conclusion that one reason why he found so little peace and rest in it might be that he did not, and perhaps could not, submit himself passively to its influence, but was for ever dealing with it as an instrument. In a note written to his father during this very visit to Red House he says, " I hate the country — apples only keep me in good spirits — Topsy's garden is perfectly laden with them.' I remember his dread of anything that appealed to the sadness which he shared with all imaginative natures, who " don't need to be made to feel," he said, and I believe that this " hatred " was partly an instinct of self-preservation from the melancholy of autumn in the country.
The Niebelungen Lied design of which Edward speaks was never finished, and if it was begun upon the back of either of the beautiful " Salutations of Beatrice " which Rossetti painted on the outside of the doors of the big settle, it may perhaps still remain there.

Around 25 Dec 1860. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Portrait of Mrs William Morris aka Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914. Signed top-left Upton (ie the Red House) Xmas 1860.1868. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Blue Silk Dress. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1869. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Mrs William Morris aks Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1870. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. La Donna della Fiamma aka The Woman of Flames. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1870. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Mariana. The bottom of the fram has these words from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure Take, O Take those lips away, That so sweetly were forsworn, And those eyes, the break of day, Lights that do mislean the morn. But my kisses bring again, bring again, Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1871. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice. Models: Beatrice: Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914, far left Alice aka Alexa Wilding Model 1847-1884, far right Annie Miller Model 1835-1925.1871. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Pandora. Holding the box - see Hesiod's Works and Days Lines 83 to 108 lines 90-94. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1875. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Study of Mrs William Morris aka Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1877. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Proserpine. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1877. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Astarte Syriaca. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1880. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. The Daydream. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1881. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. La Donna della Finestra aka The Woman at the Window. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1881. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Joan of Arc. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.

It will be taken for granted that the two men visitors had endless jokes together at the expense of their beloved host. The dinner hour, at middle day, was a great time for them because Mrs. Morris (20)  and I were there, either as eager onlookers at the fun or to take sides for and against The dining-room was not yet finished, and the drawing- room upstairs, whose beautiful ceiling had been painted by Mr. and Mrs. Morris, was being decorated in difiirent ways, so Morris' studio, which was on the same floor, was used for living in, and a most cheerful place it was, with windows lookmg three ways and a little horizontal slip of a window over the door, giving upon the red-tiled roof of the house where we could see birds hopping about all unconscious of our gaze.
Perhaps the joke which made two out of the three men happiest at dinner-time was that of sending Morris to Coventry for some slight cause and refusing to exchange a word with him at his own table: it was carried on with an unflinching audacity that I cannot hope to describe, and occasionally reached the height of their asking Mrs. Morris (20) if she would be good enough to communicate with her husband for them and tell him anything they wished to say — but a stranger coming in upon our merriment would never have guessed from the faces of the company who were the teasers and who the teased.

Around 25 Dec 1860. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Portrait of Mrs William Morris aka Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914. Signed top-left Upton (ie the Red House) Xmas 1860.1868. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Blue Silk Dress. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1869. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Mrs William Morris aks Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1870. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. La Donna della Fiamma aka The Woman of Flames. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1870. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Mariana. The bottom of the fram has these words from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure Take, O Take those lips away, That so sweetly were forsworn, And those eyes, the break of day, Lights that do mislean the morn. But my kisses bring again, bring again, Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1871. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice. Models: Beatrice: Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914, far left Alice aka Alexa Wilding Model 1847-1884, far right Annie Miller Model 1835-1925.1871. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Pandora. Holding the box - see Hesiod's Works and Days Lines 83 to 108 lines 90-94. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1875. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Study of Mrs William Morris aka Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1877. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Proserpine. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1877. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Astarte Syriaca. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1880. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. The Daydream. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1881. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. La Donna della Finestra aka The Woman at the Window. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.1881. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Joan of Arc. Model Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914.