Sir Edward Burne-Jones

The Gulbenkian Collections’ Graphic Works

To mark the 190th anniversary of Sir Edward Burne-Jones’ birth (1833-1898), curator Ana Maria Campino explores the graphic works in the Gulbenkian Collections that relate to the work of the English painter.
Ana Maria Campino 27 Feb 2024 2 min
From parchment to paper

Flamma Vestalis, which reproduces a Burne-Jones painting as an engraving, was printed in 1887, a year after the British painter first exhibited the canvas at the Grosvenor Gallery in London. As an instrument for disseminating completed pictorial works, engraving also makes it possible to materialise original artistic compositions, especially in reproducible formats such as books. This is the case with The works of Geoffrey Chaucer, which includes the poetic texts of the great English medieval poet illustrated by 87 wood engravings based on drawings by Burne-Jones.

The artist William Morris, a friend of Burne-Jones, conceived, decorated and published this book in 425 copies, one of which was acquired by Gulbenkian in 1924 and is now housed in the Gulbenkian Art Library. The artistic complicity between the two was so remarkable that Burne-Jones went so far as to say, regarding The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: ‘When Morris and I were little chaps at Oxford, if such a book had come out then we should have just gone off our heads, but we have made at the end of our days the very thing we would have made then if we could.’

Flamma Vestalis, que traduz em gravura uma pintura de Burne-Jones, foi impressa em 1887, um ano após a primeira exposição da tela pelo pintor britânico na Grosvenor Gallery, em Londres. Instrumento de divulgação de obras pictóricas já concluídas, a gravura permite igualmente materializar composições artísticas originais, sobretudo em formatos reprodutíveis, como o livro. Tal é o caso de The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, que inclui os textos poéticos do grande poeta medieval inglês ilustrados por 87 gravuras em madeira realizadas segundo desenhos de Burne-Jones. O artista William Morris, amigo de Burne-Jones, idealizou, ornamentou e editou esta publicação em 425 exemplares, um deles adquirido por Gulbenkian em 1924 e hoje conservado na Biblioteca de Arte da Fundação Gulbenkian. A cumplicidade artística entre ambos era tão notória que Burne-Jones chegou a afirmar, a propósito de The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: «Quando Morris e eu éramos jovens colegas em Oxford, se nos apresentassem um livro assim, teríamos ficado estupefactos, mas acabámos por fazer um exatamente como gostaríamos de ter feito nessa altura, se tivéssemos meios.»


From parchment to paper

On display for a short period due to their fragile preservation, the European books and graphic documents in the collection are less known to the public. In this series, the curator Ana Campino offers new perspectives on this set of works that were among Calouste Gulbenkian's favorite artistic collections.

Explore the series

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