These two volumes are a pure delight to read. Burne-Jones' widow Georgiana was clearly devoted to her husband, in spite of his affairs (understandably, none of which is mentioned here) and she took great pains to find correspondence and written material as the basis for her 'Memorial'. Much of the book is taken up by quotations either from Burne-Jones himself or from his friends and colleagues. It is so fascinating to read that I found it hard to put down. We learn so much about the artist, his likes and dislikes, his beliefs and his feelings from childhood to old age. There are many accounts of his Pre-Raphaelite colleagues. He wrote: 'I quite hated painting when I was little.... Until I saw Rossetti's work and Fra Angelico, I never supposed that I liked painting.' Burne-Jones became very fond of Rossetti. The feeling was reciprocated since Rossetti wrote to Burne-Jones: 'There is no man I love so well by half or who loves me so well.' But of course the deepest relationship Burne-Jones had was with William Morris and this is movingly portrayed, especially after Morris's death. These books are an incredibly rich source of information and in reading them one enters into the spirit of the time. Anyone who admires Burne-Jones as an artist should read this account of his life. As Georgiana writes: 'All through his life he was a dreamer of dreams, by night as well as by day.' You will get some idea how these dreams were converted into paintings by reading this book.
The book is a fascimile copy of an original edition and the text is very clear. Burne-Jones' line drawings in the text are fine but just a few of the separate plates have not come out well.