Who was Edward Burne-Jones?

Pre-Raphealite artist Edward Burne-Jones was the designer of Birmingham Cathedral’s four beautiful stained-glass windows. But what else do we know about the person behind these incredible pieces of art?

He was born in Birmingham

In the early 1830s Birmingham was a town of great change into which the young Burne-Jones was born.

Before he was a week old his mother died and his father continued to do his best for him. Early on they lived on nearby Bennetts Hill and young Edward went to King Edward’s School, New Street. He believed he lacked a good artistic education. However a deep interest in literature and a natural artistic ability enabled him to achieve well and he went on to pursue studies at Exeter College, Oxford.

He studied at Oxford

At Oxford, Burne-Jones met life-long friend and creative kindred spirit William Morris. Together the
young men decided to devote their lives to art and their lasting influence on British art history cannot be
underestimated. Burne-Jones designed and produced stained-glass, tapestries, watercolours, furniture, theatre sets, and jewellery. He exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery and became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1885.

His work was wide-ranging

Burne-Jones went to live and work in London after Oxford and late made his home in Rottingdean. He rekindled his relationship with his home town with commissions for the new Art Gallery and the windows
at St Philip’s. He became President for the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and advised the School
of Art on Margaret Street.

He was a religious man

Further reading

Seven Sides of Edward Burne-Jones | Tate

Edward Burne-Jones and The Legend of the Briar Rose | Birmingham Museums