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Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones was an English designer and artist; he was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. The artist was primarily known for his decorative art, especially his stained-glass designs.
Edward Coley Burne Jones was born in Birmingham, England, in August 1833, he was born without the hyphen. Growing up without a mother, for she died within days of his birth, he was raised by the family housekeeper and his grieving father, a frame-maker. He studied at Birmingham School of Art for four years before enrolling in theology in the Exeter College in Oxford.
In Oxford, he met William Morris; they both had a keen interest in poetry and would become lifelong friends and artist colleagues. They both, along with a small group of friends from Birmingham, formed a group known as Birmingham Set, which played a crucial role in the birth of the Arts and Crafts movement. Their society was so close they would call themselves The Brotherhood.
They often read Tennyson and John Ruskin, also visiting churches and deeply worshipped the Middle Ages. Was around this period Burne-Jones came in contact with Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory, which was also a profound influence to Burne-Jones. He and Morris were both influenced by Gabriel Rossetti’s artwork but didn’t get to meet him until they recruited him to contribute to their magazine called Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, founded by Morris in 1856 to promote their ideas.
Although Burne-Jones intended to become a church minister, Rossetti convinced both him and Morris to become artists, so Burne-Jones dropped college before taking a degree to pursue his career in art. Rossetti thought very highly of his artworks, even comparing them to Albrecht Durer’s most exquisite pieces.
In 1861, William Morris created the firm of decorative arts Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Company, along with Peter Paul Marshall and Charles Faulkner. Burne-Jones, Phillip Webb, and Ford Madox Brown were the firm’s partners. The enterprise undertook commissions for engravings, carving, carpets, and stained-glass, amongst others. One of their artworks shows at the International Exhibition was received with great interest. Soon, their company would flourish, establishing a distinguished reputation in the late 1860s.
Although the company was reorganized to Marris & Co. in 1875, Burne-Jones continued to design stained-glass compositions to the firm until the end of his life. The artist was responsible for most of the design of the company’s important works.
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones died on June 17, 1898. After his death, his artwork was utterly out of fashion, being replaced by Modern Art. For a period, his artwork plunged into oblivion, only to be rediscovered and acclaimed in the 1970s.