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Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1833 - 1898

The Beguiling of Merlin by Edward Burne-Jones

About the artist

Edward Coley Burne-Jones is one of the great artistic figures of the nineteenth century. Born in Birmingham into a middle class family, he first trained as an artist at the Government School of Design. In 1853 he went up to Exeter College, Oxford where he met a young William Morris (who was to become the eminent nineteenth-century designer, illustrator and political writer).

Both men had intended to enter the church. However, inspired by the work of the Pre-Raphaelites and the great medieval architecture of northern France they decided to pursue careers in the arts. Their working relationship was to be a long and fruitful one. This was especially so in their work on designs for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, set-up in 1861.

Throughout his career, Burne-Jones used literature as a source of inspiration and his designs and decorative arts closely relates to his paintings. His most famous and ambitious works are his series pictures including 'The Briar Rose' (1873), 'Pygmalion' (1875-8), and 'Perseus' (1882).


The following Edward Burne-Jones artworks are available to view online: