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Edward Burne-Jones letter to Cormell Price, 1861 June 28

 Item — Box: 1, Folder: 14
Call Number: MSS 45

Scope and Contents

Burne-Jones says he has been a "villain" in his lack of correspondence with Price and says that the rest of the day will be given over to writing him letters, remarking that although the letter will only take half an hour to write, "the exertion will completely do for [him]." He asks if Price is "lonely out there" and says he has encouraged William Morris to write to him and will try to get "everyone" to do the same. He says they will all be so glad when Price comes back.

Burne-Jones has been doing "heaps of work" but admits that when the summer days get hot, he will not work as much. He tells Price that Charles Faulkner will be moving from Oxford to London this month. He says that "there has been such a fire here in London" [referring to the Tooley Street Fire], stating that one could see it from thirty miles away.

Burne-Jones asks Price if he has heard of the "Co." (Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.), stating it has been founded by himself, "Topsy" (William Morris), Marshall, Brown, Webb and Rossetti. He tells Price that they produce "stained glass, furniture, jewelry, decorations and pictures," noting that they have many commissions already.

Burne-Jones describes the ordeal of a friend (probably Elizabeth Siddal) whose baby was stillborn, commenting that the mother is physically better but mourns for her child. Burne-Jones gives an account of his and Price's mutual friends, remarking that Ford Madox Brown is "fat and cheery" and that he sees Richard Watson Dixon about once a year. Burne-Jones does not approve of Dixon's marriage to Maria Sturgeon, the widow of William Thomson of Haddingtonshire, describing Sturgeon as "an old dry coquettish hag."

On page four, Burne-Jones admits that the first three pages of the letter were written three months ago. He asks Price to forgive him his silence and says he had a dream where Price would not speak to him because he had not written in so long. He says that not much has happened in the intervening period but that he has run in to trouble in the wake of Thomas Edward Plint's death, as Burne-Jones owed him £550. He comments that Elizabeth Barrett Browning has died, describing her as "the cleverest woman alive." Burne-Jones says that there have more murders and fires in London, putting the spate down to "that bloody comet," a reference to the Great Comet of 1861. Burne-Jones tells Price that he and his wife (Georgiana MacDonald) are expecting a baby but pleads with Price not to tell anyone "for fear it should be a monster." He gives further account of there mutual friends, telling Price that Charlie Faulkner has moved to London to work as a civil engineer, that Rossetti has "done a most wonderful picture," that Alice Prinsep is to "marry a rich cove" and that Val Prinsep has returned from Italy, "leaving many broken hearts."

Burne-Jones gives Price his new address in Great Russell Street, commenting that his studio there is much better than his last. Burne-Jones apologizes profusely for not writing and sends love to Price from both himself and Georgiana. He talks of his plans to take her to Italy, if the baby is well enough to be left. He says he will not be able to get home to Birmingham until Christmas. Burne-Jones talks of his desire to move his father closer to London as he is growing old. He reflects upon fatherhood, writing "it's very dull to be a dad, and having a son cuttting about & enjoying himself ... I shall hate it when I'm a dad."


  • 1861 June 28


Physical Description

2 folded sheets (8 pages) : autograph letter, signed ; both sheets 21 x 27 cm, folded to 21 x 14 cm

Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection:

The materials are open for research.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


References: Georgiana Burne-Jones, v. 1, p. 227, 229

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