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It’s possible to conjecture that, without Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s patronage, many fewer of us would have heard of the pre- Raphaelites, let alone of their most glittering figurehead, Edward Burne-Jones.

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Son of the industrial north, he made the well-trodden journey via grammar school to Oxford and then into the drawing-rooms of London, where he established a phenomenally successful business in interior design with that leading exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement, William Morris. Burne-Jones’s extraordinary talent, based on a sensual recreation of classical history rendered in High Victorian style, would soon put him at the pinnacle of the artistic world. MacCarthy renders the great man human as she describes his domestic arrangements in Kensington and his struggle to balance his imagination with the reality of everyday emotions.

Faber and Faber Hardback £25.00

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