Edward Burne-Jones

Penelope Fitzgerald

‘I mean by a picture a beautiful, romantic dream of something that never was, never will be, in a light better than any light that ever shone – in a land no one can define or remember, only desire’ Edward Burne-Jones

Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) was the prototypical pre-Raphaelite but with a truly individual sensibility. Penelope Fitzgerald’s delightful biography charts his life from humble beginnings in Birmingham as the son of an unsuccessful framer, through a transformative period at Oxford, where he met his close friend and collaborator William Morris, and on to the apprenticeship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti that would shape his artistic vision.

His work harks back to an Arthurian England – an Arcadia that offered solace against the onset of the Industrial Revolution, and on a deeply personal level provided respite from his ever-present melancholia. This is an illuminating portrait of a fascinating figure – artistic genius, doting father, troubled husband – written with all Penelope Fitzgerald’s characteristic sympathy and insight.

Reviews of Edward Burne-Jones

  • ‘Wise and ironic, funny and humane, Fitzgerald is a wonderful, wonderful writer.’ David Nicholls

    ‘Of all the novelists of the last quarter-century, she has the most unarguable claim on greatness. [It has been] a career we, as readers, can only count ourselves lucky to have lived through.’ Philip Hensher, Spectator