Wednesday, July 4, 2018


24 October 2018 – 24 February 2019 

This autumn, Tate Britain will present the first major Burne-Jones retrospective to be held in London for over 40 years. Renowned for otherworldly depictions of beauty inspired by myth, legend and the Bible, Edward Burne-Jones (1833–98) was a pioneer of the symbolist movement and the only Pre-Raphaelite to achieve world-wide recognition in his lifetime. 

This ambitious and wide-ranging exhibition will bring together over 150 works in different media including painting, stained glass and tapestry, reasserting him as one of the most influential British artists of the 19th century. Edward Burne-Joneswill chart his rise from an outsider of British art to one of the great artists of the European fin de siècle. Burne-Jones rejected Victorian industrial ideals, offering an enchanted parallel universe inhabited by beautiful and melancholy beings. The exhibition will bring together all the major works from across his four-decade career, depicting Arthurian knights, Classical heroes and Biblical angels. Spectacular large-scale paintings like 

Love among the Ruins, 1870-1873
 Love among the Ruins 1870-3
Watercolour, bodycolour and gum arabic on paper
96 x 152 cm
Private collection

Love among the Ruins1870-73

and The Wheel of Fortune1883 will show his international impact, including at the 1889 Exposition Universelle when he emerged on the world stage as the leading light of symbolist art. 

Two rooms dedicated to the artist’s most famous narrative cycles will be shown together for the first time. These huge canvases are among his finest and best-loved works, telling 

Perseus and the Sea Nymphs (The Arming of Perseus).jpg
Bodycolour on paper
1528 x 1264 mm
Southampton City Art Gallery

the action-packed story of Perseus 

The Rose Bower.jpg

Oil paint on canvas
1250 x 2310 cm
The Faringdon Collection Trust

and the dreamlike fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. 

Burne-Jones’s lack of formal training in fine art allowed him to develop a distinct and highly idiosyncratic approach to painting that bridged the fine and decorative arts. The exhibition will open with a focus on his early career, highlighting his work as a church decorator. Striking examples of stained glass such as The Good Shepherd1857-61 will be presented alongside The Adoration of the Magi 1861, a large-scale altarpiece created for the church of St Paul’s in Brighton.

 Considered one of the greatest draughtsmen of the 19th century, Burne-Jones’s remarkable drawings such as 


Graphite on paper
21 x 13 cm

Desiderium will also be showcased to demonstrate his sensitive and personal response to Renaissance Old Masters. 

Familiar faces populate Burne-Jones’s otherwise imaginary worlds, drawn from the artist’s intimate circle of family and friends. Several of these figures will feature in a section of the exhibition highlighting Burne-Jones’s unique approach to portraiture. 

Portrait of Amy Gaskell.jpg

Portrait of Amy Gaskell 1893
Oil paint on canvas
95 x 61 cm
Private collection

His paintings of  Amy Gaskell

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and Lady Windsor1893-95 stand in contrast to the fashionable society portraits of the day, presenting idealised likenesses with stark minimal compositions and a restrained colour palette. 

Tate Britain will also explore the key role of the decorative arts in Burne-Jones’s career, including his long working relationship with William Morris. Both men were committed to social reform and intended their collaborative work to reach a broad audience through beauty of design and execution. 

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The dazzling Graham Piano1879-80 will be displayed 

alongside embroideries, illustrated books and spectacular large-scale tapestries like 

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The Arming and Departure of the Knights of the Round Table on the Quest for the Holy Grail1890-1894 

Adoration of the Magi.jpg

Adoration of the Magi 1894
2580 x 3840 mm
Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections 

and Adoration of the Magi.

Edward Burne-Jones will be curated by Alison Smith, Chief Curator, National Portrait Gallery and Tim Batchelor, Assistant Curator, Tate Britain. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue from Tate Publishing.

Phyllis and Demophoön.jpg:

Phyllis and Demophoön 1870
Watercolour on paper
93 x 47 cm
© Birmingham Museums Trust

Bodycolour on paper
153 x 129 cm
Southampton City Art Gallery

Laus Veneris.jpg

Laus Veneris 1873-8
Oil paint on canvas
1194 x 1803 mm
Laing Art Gallery (Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums) 

The Calling of St Peter.jpg

Stained and painted glass
1072 x 356 mm
Victoria and Albert Museum

 The Doom Fulfilled.jpg

Oil paint on canvas
155 x 140 cm
Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart

The Garden Court.jpg

The Garden Court 1874-84
Oil paint on canvas
1250 x 2310 cm
The Faringdon Collection Trust

The Death of Medusa I.JPG
Bodycolour on paper
125 x 117 cm
Southampton City Art Gallery

The Death of Medusa II.JPG

The Death of Medusa (II) c.1881-2
Bodycolour on paper
1525 x 1365 mm
Southampton City Art Gallery 

The Rock of Doom.jpg

The Rock of Doom 1885-8
Oil paint on canvas
1550 x 1300 mm
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Atlas Turned to Stone.JPG

Bodycolour on paper
1502 x 1902 mm
Southampton City Art Gallery