Biography of Edward Burne Jones

Portrait of Edward Burne Jones

Sir Edward Burne Jones was a Victorian Pre-Raphaelite painter.

When and Where was he Born?

28th August 1833, 11 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, England.

Family Background:

Edward Burne Jone’s mother Elizabeth died within days of his birth and he was raised by his father Edward, a gilder.


King Edward 6th School, Birmingham. Exeter College, Oxford (Never graduated). Intended to go into the Church but decided on different career path when he met William Morris there.

Timeline of Edward Burne-Jones:

1855: After leaving Oxford University Burne-Jones goes on a tour of Northern France and decides to become a painter.

1856: He and William Morris share rooms at 17 Red Lion Square, London, which had previously been occupied by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Except for a few lessons by Rossetti, Burne-Jones was largely self-taught, particularly in pen and ink and watercolours. His early work consisted of romantic or literary subjects.

1858: Burne-Jones makes the first of four long trips to Italy to study the artistic treasures.

1860: He marries Georgiana MacDonald, the sister of an old school friend. He moves in to rooms with his new wife in Great Russell Street, London which were formerly occupied by Henry Wallis. They become regular guests of William and Jane Morris at Red House, where Burne-Jones helps with the interior decorations.

1862: Second trip to Italy in the company of John Ruskin.

1864: Burne-Jones is elected an Associate of the Water Colour Society.

1867: He moves to The Grange Fulham, London, where drawing from life becomes an essential part of his daily life.

Love and the Pilgrim 1897. (Tate Gallery)

1870: He resigns from the Water Colour Society after criticism of his painting “Phyllis and Demophoon”. Scandal surrounds his affair with one of his models, Maria Zambaco.

1877: By now concentrating on oil painting Burne-Jones was a major exhibitor at the first exhibition at the Grosvenor Gallery and he achieves sensational popular acclaim.

1878: Burne-Jones is feted at the Exposition Universelle in France. He is a witness for John Ruskin in the libel case with James McNeill Whistler.

1885: He reluctantly accepts an Associateship of the Royal Academy but exhibited there only once.

1893: Burne-Jones resigns from the Royal Academy.

1894: Prime Minister William Gladstone confers a Baronetcy on him.

When and Where did he Die?

17th June 1898, Fulham, London, England after an earlier attack of influenza from which he was thought to have recovered.

Age at Death:



1884: “King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid”.
1858: “Merlin and Nimue”.
1872: “The Beguiling of Merlin”.
1877: “Days of Creation”.
1867: “The Mirror of Venus”.
1880: “The Golden Stairs”. (Tate Britain)
1880’s: “The Holy Grail” series of tapestries. (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery).
1884: “King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid” (Tate Britain).
1896: Illustrations for the Kelmscott Press edition of the works of Chaucer.


1860: To Georgiana MacDonald, the sister of an old school friend.

Site of Grave:

Churchyard at Rottingdean, Sussex, near his country home.

Selected Places of Interest:


Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford.


St. Phillip’s Cathedral. (Stained Glass Windows).
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square.


City Art Gallery.


Astley Cheetham, Stalybridge.


Falmouth Art Gallery.


Stained Glass Window at St. Martin’s, Brampton.
Tulie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle.


Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.


Southampton City Art Gallery.


Burnley Town Hall.


Leicester Museum and Art Gallery.


Leighton House.
Tate Britain, Millbank.
William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow.


Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, The Wirral.
Sudley House, Liverpool.
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.


Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth.


Buscot Park.


Norwich Castle Museum.


Watt’s Gallery, Guildford.


St Michael and All Angels Church, Brighton.


Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton.


Grave’s Art Gallery, Sheffield.
Mappin Art gallery, Sheffield.