30 January 2014

A Dedicated Man

Henry Scott Holland, "Edward Burne-Jones," Personal Studies (London: Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1905), p. 250:
Such friends they were [in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood]! And, above all, at the heart of the companionship was that peculiar and rare friendship of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, which was to last unbroken till death, and which was to tell, with such thrilling effect, upon the imaginative development of England. Rare, indeed, is it for two men, of creative artistic power, to come together as boys: to grow together as men: to live together, through life, working together for the same ends, co-operating in the same production, completing each other, in the full communion of delightful and incessant intercourse, in perfect trust, and joy, and love, from end to end of their careers. Has there ever been an intimacy so fortunate, so fertile, so happy, and so exquisitely fulfilled ? The very story of it, embalmed in this book [i.e. Georgiana Burne-Jones' Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones], is enough to revive our flagging belief in all that man might be and do, if only now and again things did but fall out right.
Id, p. 261:
An artist was for Burne-Jones a dedicated man, with a responsibility to discharge as real as any others. That responsibility asked for his whole being, and he would serve his generation best by giving himself up to that and nothing else. Again and again he had to assert this principle for himself, resisting all attempts to make him speak, etc. He had a passion for work as such, and believed that there was absolutely no end to it. "What do we want to be wrenched from our work for? I should like to stop in this room for 439 years and never be taken out of it." At another time he made a bigger demand. "I should like to go on working in this studio for 17,000 years — but why seventeen? Why not 70,000?" 
Edward Burne-Jones, The Pilgrim at the Gate of Idleness (1884)