1 thought on “Image of the Week: Georgiana Burne-Jones”

  1. Delighted to find your post when all I was doing was hunting for Georgiana’s date of birth (to save myself the trouble of going into the next room and checking my copy of A Circle of Sisters!) The retrospective of EB-J at Tate Britain which I hope to visit before 24 February is with any luck going to raise the profile of the pre-Raphaelite sisterhood as well as fulfilling its ostensible purpose. The pre-Raphaelite women do seem at first glance to be terribly subservient to their men and EB-J himself had a weird and wonderful set of relationships outside his marriage, notably with May Gaskell, But it is clear that they desperately needed the approval of these women. Is it significant that May Morris came nearest to “equality” with a prominent Brotherhood bloke, William Morris – mainly, I imagine, because she was his daughter not his wife? Of course, as a result William gets credited with design work that May herself was responsible for. I love her for saying (1936) “I’m a remarkable woman – always was, though none of you seemed to think so.”

    And how interesting that Georgiana uses the expression “separator of companions and terminator of delights” for her baby Philip (who turned out to be a less-than-successful painter in desperate emulation of his father). The quotation actually refers to Death – but it must have come up in conversation more than once in the Burne-Jones family, as Angela Thirkell, GB-J’s granddaughter and writer, uses it in one of her Barsetshire novels to describe Christmas! A sentiment to which a great many bosoms return an echo, no doubt…


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