Archives and Modern Manuscripts Image of the Month: Edward Burne Jones’ Caricature

MS Add.9974/3/2/4

Amongst the correspondence and papers of the Baldwin, Kipling, Burne-Jones, Poynter, and Macdonald families (MS Add.9974) can be found a folder of drawings and sketches by the artist Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898). 

According to Georgiana Burne-Jones, her husband began entertaining his friends with his caricatures and cartoons whilst at school, a habit which lasted throughout his lifetime.  “He must have covered reams of paper with drawings that came as easily to him as his breath,” she writes in Memorials, her biography of the artist.  “At every friend’s house there are some of them.”  Usually done off the cuff, “they filled up moments of waiting, moments of silence, or uncomfortable moments, bringing every one together again in wonder at the swiftness of their creation, and laughter at their endless fun1.” There is no clue as to what Burne-Jones was referring to in this sketch, but it certainly looks like fun.

Burne-Jones was a leading light in the burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement of the late Victorian period, co-founding, with William Morris and others, the design company Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.  He was involved with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, studying painting with Dante Gabriel Rosetti, and would go on to be at the forefront of the new Aesthetic Movement.  He not only produced paintings, but also worked on ceramics, jewellery, tapestry, mosaics, and, most notably, stained glass.

  1. Burne-Jones, Georgiana, Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones (London: MacMillan and Co., 1904), p. 38 ↩︎

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.