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Edward Burne-Jones
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Painter and designer. Christened Edward Coley Burne. Attended Exeter College, Oxford, intending to be ordained as a minister of the Church of England. There he became familiar with the pictorial work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and was so enthusiastic that he resolved to abandon his proposed career and devote himself to art. In 1885 he went to London and met Rossetti, on whose recommedation he left the university without his degree and, after a brief period of study in the artist's studio, began in 1856 the serious work of his life without any further instruction, but with the constant advice of his only master. His earliest works were mostly pen-and-ink or watercolor. In 1859 he visited Italy and studied the works of Italian masters at Florence, Siena, Pisa, and elsewhere. The early works of Burne-Jones show heavy Pre-Raphaelite influence, yet the most conspicuous characteristic of his work is its individuality - for though in his early years he was undoubtedly influenced by Rossetti, and in his later years he was often imitated, his work is profoundly personal. The sources of his inspiration were many: medieval ballads and legends, classical myths, "The Earthly Paradise" by William Morris, the poems of Chaucer and Spenser, the Bible, allegory, and pure imagination. Whatever the source, his subjects are infused with and transfigured by a powerful and somewhat melancholy charm which was his own, expressed with a refined and delicate feeling for beauty of form and color, and illustrated with a wealth of charming and significant detail.