Women of the Pre-Raphaelite Circle

Christina Rossetti Sister of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and critic William Michael Rossetti. A talented poet in her own right, Christina can be seen in several early works of her brother’s, namely The Girlhood of the Virgin Mary and Ecce Ancilla Domini. Read more. Elizabeth Siddal Lizzie helped shape the concept of a “Pre-Raphaelite … Read more

Georgiana Burne-Jones

Georgiana Burne-Jones was introduced to the Pre-Raphaelite circle through her relationship with the man she would later marry, her childhood sweetheart, Edward Burne-Jones. The daughter of a Methodist minister, Georgie was the fifth out of eleven children. Their upbringing was strict and, according to Jan Marsh in Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, reading the works of Shakespeare and … Read more

The Witch’s Heart

This morning I shared on the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood Facebook page  Edward Poynter’s portrait of Georgiana Burne-Jones, wife of Sir Edward Burne-Jones who was an important figure in the second wave of Pre-Raphaelitism.   In ‘The Last Pre-Raphaelite’ biographer Fiona MacCarthy describes the watch Georgie’s wearing on a chain as a “ball-shaped gold watch studded with chrysolites … Read more

Why write about Pre-Raphaelite women?

I receive many positive emails through this blog because, for the most part, people in the world are great. The negative ones stand out, though, and occasionally eat at me. In a recent message, someone (I assume not a regular reader of this blog) questioned my feminism because I am devoted to Pre-Raphaelite art. They … Read more

A Mother’s Exile

Georgiana Burne-Jones, wife of artist Edward Burne-Jones, was a devoted wife and mother.  Her love for her husband and children is obvious when reading any account of the Burne-Jones family.   Despite her joy at becoming a mother, Georgie poignantly described a sense of exile once she was no longer in the studio with her … Read more

King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid

Sir Edward Burne-Jones’ painting King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid is based on the story of an African King who had never felt any attraction towards women until he spotted a beggar woman. In this tale of love at first sight, King Cophetua declares that despite her low social standing, she will be his queen. … Read more

Burne-Jones on Portraiture

Another portrait painted this year, that of Miss Fitzgerald, a young American girl.  The art of portraiture he [Burne-Jones] considered very seriously from the point of what “expression” was allowable–a question that he had settled with regard to his imaginative pictures at an early date.  Speaking of this in later years he said: “Of course … Read more

The lure of water-women

In Rossetti’s 1853 drawing Boatmen and Siren, one of the boatmen is captivated by the siren, but is saved from certain death by his companion.  The accompanying inscription was written by Jacopo da Lentino, a Italian poet of the Rennaissance era whose work was translated by Rossetti in The Early Italian Poets: I am broken, … Read more

What is the “Pre-Raphaelite Woman”?

florence and the machine

Women are central figures in Pre-Raphaelite art, and this has given rise to the concept of a “Pre-Raphaelite Woman.” I frequently see the term in the media, usually describing an actress or singer with long curly hair. Florence Welch is often described as Pre-Raphaelite, a look she has embraced. But was there a unified ideal? If we look … Read more

The Worst Man in London

  Seven years after her death, the coffin of Elizabeth Siddal was exhumed so that her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, could publish the poetry he had buried with her. It was a secret act, yet eventually the deed came to be known and has added a macabre tinge to the tale of Elizabeth Siddal. Rossetti … Read more

Drawing of Georgiana Burne-Jones

Drawn in 1860 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, this portrait was probably intended to commemorate the wedding of Georgie and Ned (Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones).

Georgiana Burne-Jones

  Georgiana MacDonald Burne-Jones (1840-1920) Georgiana MacDonald came from a strict, God-fearing family.  Both her father and grandfather were Methodist ministers.  According to Jan Marsh in Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, reading the works of Shakespeare and attending the theater were forbidden and considered sinful in their family on the grounds of morality.  ‘Georgie’, as she was known, … Read more