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benefit of British commerce, the cost of armaments and other measures for the forcible insurance or acquisition of commerce is shown to be a false economy.
Even now it is surely not too late to abandon the notion that we must fight for markets, and to adopt as a sounder basis of our Imperial polity the principle laid down so long ago as 1820 by a staid commission of sober-minded Englishmen, that “ Commerce must be a source of reciprocal amity between nations, and an interchange of productions to promote the industry, the wealth, and the happiness of mankind."
J. A. HOBSON.
SIR EDWARD BURNE-JONES.
YOME little time since I chanced to be at sunset in a long and
many-windowed west-facing gallery. As the sun swung round and down towards the horizon, the brilliant light died out in window after window. Finally, and, as it seemed, with disturbing suddenness, the last was obscured, and dusk settled down in the place.
It occurred to me then that this gallery typified our century. In & Versailles we may chase for a time the sunlight from room to room, but in our outside world Fate, with rare artistic instinct, seems to round off the period a thought mercilessly, and leaves us with few of the old familiar faces, the old and trusted landmarks.
Barne-Jones, who lived to enjoy the greatest fame accorded to any of his school, was not one of its founders, nor yet one of its earliest apholders. Three of the original Pre-Raphaelites remain with us ; of them only one still paints, but he is the only one steadfast to the old canons—the old rules of all, I may call them, Of the first disciples I can only call to mind Mr. Arthur Hughes. He was a Pre-Raphaelite almost before Burne-Jones began his work, and his pictures still retain some of the old savour- some of the “look” of Pre-Raphaelism.
Burne-Jones, who was born in the abused city of Birmingham, was, by some years, younger than the youngest of the Brethren. Moreover, neither his early environment nor his immediately sabsequent training assisted him towards the precocious development that distinguished the members of the Brotherhood. His early education at King Edward's School in the city of his birth gave him knowledge and love of the classical myths. Parental influence drove him towards the Established Church. In a school distinguished for clever scholars
he won an exhibition, a fact which would lead us to believe that his scholastic capabilities were more considerable than those of any of the other Pre-Raphaelites. This was in 1852, when the Brotherhood had already lived through several years of a struggling existence.
At Oxford, whither his scholarship took him, he met with his life-long friend, William Morris. At Oxford, too, was Mr. Combe, a man whose name should be gratefully remembered as one whose taste led him to help with purse and voice the struggling movement. Combe possessed Rossetti’s “ Dante painting the Portrait of Beatrice,” as well as one or two pictures by Mr. Holman Hunt—the famous Light of the World” among them.
With these pictures to inspire him and Morris to abet him in his resistance to the attractions of Divinity studentship, Burne-Jones began to indulge in dreams of an artistic life. At what date he first used his pencil I do not actually know. I remember seeing, among a number of odds and ends in Madox-Brown's portfolios, a two-figure sketch by Burne-Jones, which was amongst those first shown to Rossetti. The sketch afterwards disappeared, but, as far as I can remember, it was dated 1854. It struck me as being a recognisable essay in the style of Rossetti, and a very remarkable achievement for an absolutely antutored draughtsman. Mr. William Rossetti informs me that his brother styled Burne-Jones's earliest drawing “Düreresque.” And, writing to W. B. Scott in 1857, Rossetti adds : "Jones's designs are unequalled by anything-except, perhaps, by Albert Dürer's finest works." In any case, the tendency of these early drawings was towards the archaic.
In 1855 appeared William Allingham's “The Music Master,” and tradition has it that Rossetti's design for the poem called “The Maids of Elfinmere” so excited the admiration of Barne-Jones that he determined without delay to make himself known to the artist. Morris had already made Rossetti's acquaintance I believe at the house of Mr. Combe. Barne-Jones, however, felt so much of a young man's diffidence that, even though he attended one of Rossetti's classes, he could not bring himself to speak to the master until he was subsequently introduced to him by Mr. Vernon Lushington, who at that date gave much of his time to writing upon Pre-Raphaelite subjects.
Rossetti's appreciation of Burne-Jones's drawings was so immediate and so great that without any hesitation he urged—we may even say commanded—the neophyte's instant secession from the ranks of the Church's recruits.
* This must, I think, have been in 1856, not 1855 as is stated by Mr. Bell in his “Sir Edward Burne-Jones: a Record and Review." Rossetti's connection with the Working Men's College began in the later year. The first mention of Burne-Jones that is discoverable in any letter of Rossetti that I have seen is in one written to Madox-Brown on June 6, 1856.
That Rossetti should have advised a step of such a momentous kind speaks loudly for his admiration of Burne-Jones's work. Rossetti, it is true, was still full of youthful enthusiasm, but he had the bitter experience of some seven or eight years of struggle and strife to make him aware of the gravity of the abandonment he advised. BurneJones elected to make him his guide, but not without searching of the spirit and not without parental disapproval.
Then began a season of endurance, relieved by friendship alone. I suppose a better band of brothers was never known than was that in which Burne-Jones now enlisted.
Bat for that very brotherliness, it would have gone hard with many a famous artist.
Rossetti had in Burne-Jones an ideal papil, and prescribed for him the rules of his ideal novitiate. There was to be : first, a period devoted to the mastery of materials, of observance of his master's setting to work; then attempts at literal transcription; then a study of the works and methods of the masters of antiquity; and, finally, a strenuous working out of the artist's own individuality. This was precisely the course that Rossetti had heard enjoined by his own master, Madox-Brown. As we know, Rossetti had found the diligent following out of it altogether too irksome. Bat, in all things a better friend to others than to himself, he watched over Burne-Jones's development with single-hearted devotion. He allowed him the ran of his studio and the use of his models ; made him his daily companion and studied with him. The rapid progress that BurneJones showed in his work must have amply rewarded whatever sacrifice his master made. To his great innate talents he added an indomitable perseverance determination and a fervoar rarely
His first finished design, " The Waxen Image," I do not remember having seen. The subject was, of course, suggested by Rossetti's “ghastly ballad” “ Sister Helen," which was written in 1853, although not actually published for some years.
The earliest letters from Burne-Jones to Madox-Brown which I have in my keeping make frequent mention of Rossetti's reading his poems. Helen," in particular, strikes Burne-Jones as “glorious stuff.” But though the "Waxen Image” was his first finished design, I believe that his first efforts were given to the background* of that delightful
* Writers on Burne-Jones delight to retail a dramatic anecdote of the way in which Rossetti applauded this piece of work. Rossetti, it is stated, had given Burne Jones a number of his own drawings for purposes of study. Coming into his pupil's room one day and observing Jones painting this background, he called at once for his own drawings and tore them in half beneath Jones's despairing eyes. It is to be understood that he wished to intimate that his pupil had no more to learn from him. As a matter of fact dramatic action of that sort would have been peculiarly foreign to Rossetti's nature. It is more probable that he remarked, "Why, my dear Ned, you've got nothing more to learn from those blessed scrawls of mine-tear 'em up."
work, the “Merciful Knight," the figures in which were not added until seven years later—1863.
In 1857 Rossetti went to Oxford to commence the tempera paintings in the Union Debating Room, and thither Burne-Jones accompanied him. Rossetti began his work there at the beginning of the Long Vacation of 1857, and during the greater part of the time BurneJones was certainly with him. In the catalogue of Burne-Jones's works, appended to Mr. Bell's book, the date ascribed to the tempera “Merlin and Nimue” is 1858. But, as far I
am aware, the patience of the Oxford Union did not live until the latter year, and the works of several of the workers were left unfinished and have now vanished from sight.
It was a joyous time for the painters who, though they gave their services unhired, were yet luxuriously sustained by the Union Society. Among their number were Burne-Jones, William Morris, Mr. Arthur Hughes, Mr. Spencer Stanhope, and Mr. Val Prinsep—all disciples of Rossetti. They were all of them lightheartedly ignorant of even so much as the fitting materials for wallpainting. Rogsetti has been saddled with the responsibility for the choice of sized tempera upon & surface of limewash. And when we think of Rossetti’s masterful methods we may not feel inclined to quarrel with the rumour. The limewash soaked up large quantities of costly colouring, and the work of all those young men "with the vineleaves in their hair” has long since disappeared. But the episode might almost be compared for joyousness with the feasts at the Mermaid : Rossetti with his glowing enthusiasm, “foar-square" Morris with his bludgeon-wit, Burne-Jones with a gentle strain of neverlacking humour, with the others who are still with us, and with Swinburne for a constant inmate of the workroom, must have made up a company difficult to match at any time. Rossetti himself wrote to Madox-Brown, “ It is very jolly work, bat really one is mad to do such things."
To Barne-Jones was assigned a wall-space that was not even level, and which was marred by a string-course of bricks running across its upper surface ; but he attacked the problem of its treatment with as much zeal as he brought to the facing of the many other technical difficulties that beset him.
In 1858 he made his first serious attempt at painting in oils on a panel for a cabinet which remained at Kelmscott House until Morris's death. I remember to have seen some earlier oil-studies -one sketch for a Sir Tristram—which were quite recognisably attempts to gain & knowledge of the medium. But the “Prioress' Tale” shows very little want of skill as far as actual painting is concerned.
During 1859 he produced a series of pen-and-ink drawings on vellam, which included the exquisite "King's Daughters." Whether