Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination” as Want to Read:
The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  86 ratings  ·  16 reviews
While still a student at Oxford, Edward Burne-Jones formed a friendship and made a renunciation that would shape art history. The friendship was with William Morris, with whom he would occupy the social and intellectual center of the era's cult of beauty. The renunciation was of his intention to enter the clergy, when he--together with Morris--vowed to throw over the Churc ...more
Hardcover, 629 pages
Published by Faber & Faber (first published September 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Last Pre-Raphaelite, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Last Pre-Raphaelite

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 495)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Paul Bryant
I remember it all – and the processions –and the trombones – and the ancient singing – more beautiful than anything I had ever heard and I think I have never heard the like since. And the great organ that made the air tremble – and the greater organ that pealed out suddenly, and I thought the Day of Judgement had come – and the roof, and the long lights that are the most graceful things man has ever made. What a day it was, and how alive I was, and how young – and a blue dragonfly stood still in ...more
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
Done! And after three months of slow reading I gobbled up the last 200 pages in a single day. As always when I read biographies I felt that terrible swelling of emotion as Burne-Jones' life wound down to the inevitable end. Fiona MacCarthy's control of her subject in the last few chapters was very good; the way she tied off each loose end. I found myself tearing up at the death of William Morris, and was very moved by the description of Burne-Jones own quiet funeral at Rottingdean not many years ...more
Andrew Schirmer
This is what the French would call une brique. A monster doorstop of a book that will plunge you, rather enjoyably, into the lives of eminent late Victorians. Save Ruskin and Rossetti, I knew little of the Pre-Raphaelites (and Burne-Jones in particular) before reading this book, but found it hard to put down; the story is spun clearly and movingly. The friendships and spats glimmer on the surface: Morris's advances into socialism, the scandalous affair withe Greek muse/harpie Maria Zambaco, Burn ...more
MacCarthy writes so beautifully, she could create interest and meaning in her subject's toenail clippings. Her account is often moving on the friendship with Morris and Jones's passion for a beauty that defies the ugly new world of industrialization. Her discussion of Jones' less admirable traits is straightforward without being judgmental or overly apoloetic. I especially appreciated her sympathetic reading of of Georgiana Jones. Only the last chapter was a bit scattered and anticlimatic.
Eric Hansen
I didn't know about Edward Burne-Jones until I started looking into the Pre-Raphaelites; like many, I was lured in by William Morris's enormously broad influence and the Rossetti family name. Now, having read MacCarthy's precisely researched and written biography of Burne-Jones, I have decided I like B-J the best. It matters that, unlike almost all of his colleagues, he was born into Dickensian poverty in ugly Birmingham, England. His collaborative friendships with Morris, Millais, Rossetti, and ...more
McCarthy is a an excellent biographer of figures of this period. I loved her biog of Morris and while I find Morris the much more likeable and interesting man her biog of Burne-Jones makes for excellent reading, capturing not just her subject but the cultural milieu in which he created such wonderful art. An excellent read!
Well-written, detailed biography of the famous Pre-Raphaelite painter. I found the introduction and conclusion to be very interesting, and to explain the artist's place in his world. However, in some places, I thought the book was a bit too detailed for the average reader.
Besides being an insightful biography of Burne-Jones, it also covers the artists in his circle. Very nice illustrations.
Charles Stephen
published in 2011. Spotted the title in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Finally got my hands on it today. I had planned to go to New York in 1998 for the Burne-Jones Centennial exhibit but broke my ankle and could not get there. As I whisked through this highly readable biography, I kept referring to art books to see the works referenced. I think I need to get my hands on the souvenir book from the Metropolitan Museum's exhibit. This was the most enjoyable and engrossing read I've had in art/ ...more
I sought this after seeing some of Burne-Jones work in the Museo de Ponce. It's very long and dense, although the story does trip along. I had it for nine weeks, as I kept getting books which were expiring. I didn't finish it, mostly because I couldn't renew it any longer, and I'd been picking at it so long I wanted to move on to other things. I learned lots about the art movements of the mid-nineteenth century. After a while, I will likely read MacCarthy's work on William Morris, whom I have lo ...more
Bill Wells
I love Burne-Jones' work and found this to be a great insight into the late 19th century art world. The fact that the author actually talks about the ideas behind the paintings and other works, and the motivations for the artist (and not just his love affairs) made it more valuable to me.

Fiona McCarthy writes like a dream. Her artist's biographies are insightful and informative. I gained a new appreciation of Burne-Jones though I thought I was knowledgeable about him.

This was a well-researched, compelling book. It was a great companion to MAY & AMY.
Lisa H.
Interesting, thorough, very readable biography of Burne-Jones.

Fantastic view of the art and life of a brilliant artist.
Karen marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2015
Anna marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2015
Yasmin marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2015
Lillian Neumann
Lillian Neumann marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2015
Barbara marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2015
Jacqui added it
Jun 25, 2015
Jane Haylor
Jane Haylor marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2015
ShyPageSniffer marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16 17 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood
  • Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives Of The Pre Raphaelites
  • Pre-Raphaelites in Love
  • Lizzie Siddal
  • The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites
  • A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin
  • Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais
  • The Pre-Raphaelites
  • Stunner: The Fall and Rise of Fanny Cornforth
  • Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories
  • Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life
  • George Eliot: The Last Victorian
  • Vermeer: A View of Delft
  • Caravaggio: A Life
  • Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane
  • The Stones of Venice
  • Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper
  • A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton
Byron: Life and Legend Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes William Morris: A Life for Our Time Eric Gill Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, 1860-1960

Share This Book