Georgiana Burne–Jones, Memorials.◦
Mackail, J. W. Life of William Morris .
In this essay, Burne-Jones reviews the third and latest volume of
. He examines Ruskin’s definitions of high and low art,
imagination, and idealism, citing examples from Hunt and Millais.
In 1855, before the first issue of the magazine was even published,
Burne-Jones was already planning this essay. He wrote to Maria Choyce that,
“In the March number I shall introduce Ruskin and in the April
Fouqué” (Memorials 123). The latter never
materialized, but this essay on Ruskin is one of Burne-Jones’s most
Ruskin was highly regarded by the Morris brotherhood. His
“Edinburgh Lectures” first introduced Morris and
Burne-Jones to DGR and the rest of the PRB (Mackail 38), and many of
Ruskin’s theories are evident in the Magazine. He was sent a copy of the
first issue, and by the time this essay was printed,
Burne-Jones had already received a letter from him. His excitement is
evident in a letter written to Cormell Price: “I’m not Ted any
longer, I’m not E. C. B. Jones now—I’ve dropped my
personality—I’m a correspondent with Ruskin,
and my future title is ‘the man who wrote to Ruskin and got an
answer by return’” (Memorials 127).
Burne-Jones, writing about “all poetry, sung or
painted” implicitly echoes the feeling so common in the writings
in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, that the written and material arts are
one and the same (see for example Fulford’s essay on Tennyson). This idea
can be traced back to Ruskin himself, and Burne-Jones applies this principle
to Ruskin’s prose, comparing it to Turner’s paintings and arguing that,
while Ruskin’s theories are brilliant, their practical results are due
perhaps as much to his rhetorical fluency as to “the undeniable
truth that is in them” (215).
First printed in
The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine
, April, 1856.