What Burne-Jones learned from Rossetti

Memorials of Burne-Jones, Vol. I, p. 149
Memorials of Burne-Jones, Vol. I, p. 149

Today I have been contemplating this passage from The Memorials of Burne-Jones:

“All the actual study of painting that Edward did with Rossetti was a few mornings’ work in his studio, but what he learnt from him was far more than painting. “He taught me to have no fear or shame of my own ideas, to design perpetually, to seek no popularity, to be altogether myself — and this in not any words I can remember, but in the tenor of his conversation always and in the spirit of everything he said. I remember that he discouraged me from study of the antique–the classical antique– giving as his reason that such study came too early in a man’s life and was apt to crush out his individuality; adding that when a man had once found his own and was much older and could front the fear of being crushed, a year or so given to much study would be an excellent thing.  So what I chiefly gained from him was not to be afraid of myself, but to do the thing that I liked most: but in those first years I never wanted to think but as he thought, and all he did and said fitted me through and through.  He never harangued or persuaded, but had a gift of saying things authoritatively and not as the Scribes, such as I had never heard in any man. ” (bold emphasis mine)

Burne-Jones' caricature of himself in the studio at Red Lion Square
Burne-Jones’ caricature of himself in the studio at Red Lion Square

2 thoughts on “What Burne-Jones learned from Rossetti”

  1. I wish I could have met him as well as the other Pre-Raphaelites. At least we can study their pictures and writings. : )


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