Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Delightfully Dark Art: Philip Burne-Jones

The Vampire by Philip Burne-Jones

The Vampire was the most celebrated work of British painter, Sir Philip Burne-Jones (1861-1926). He was the son of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, who was connected to the Pre-Raphaelite art movement.

A poem called The Vampire, written by Rudyard Kipling, was inspired by this painting.

Philip Burne-Jones produced more than 60 paintings during his life, and his work was exhibited in prestigious galleries in both London and Paris. He was, however, never fully able to step out of the shadow of his more famous father.

I was already completely captivated by The Vampire before stumbling upon the delightful portrait of the artist with his cat, but now I'm even more impressed by Philip Burne-Jones.


  1. I was inspired to look this artist up on the net after seeing your post. It was interesting to find out that the woman in the painting was an actress with whom he had been romantically involved. She dumped him, in response Burne-Jones portrayed her as a vampire sucking the life out of a male victim (him). Sounds like it created quite an uproar and painted the artist in a bad light with the general public. Fascinating stuff...thanks for posting!

  2. very nice, this right up my alley... i too am intrigued.

    Jeremy [iZombie]
    iZombie Lover

  3. Well, that photo of him with the cat is adorable! This is my week to hear about the Pre-Raphaelites. :) I have another blog friend who wrote about Rossetti recently. I think you'll enjoy the videos in this post:

  4. Love the picture and the painting. Awesome dark art.

  5. I love cats and I appreciate very much to see them in photos
    artistic and vintage! Great reporting. :)

  6. Emma, these are wonderful!


  7. Hi art bliss,

    Unfortunately, I don't know very much about Philip Burne-Jones, so I will have to do some further reading myself. I studied the Pre-Raphaelites at school, so I knew about his father, Edward Burne-Jones. I did read that the woman was based on an actress that he had been linked with, but I wasn't aware of all the controversy. Interestingly, when I first saw "The Vampire", I though it might have been a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and that the model was Elizabeth Siddal, who posed for many of the Pre-Raphaelites. I suppose Philip was very influenced in his style by his father, and his father's friends. No doubt he was insecure about being constantly compared to his father. Of course, if he hadn't overreacted to being spurned by a lover, we wouldn't have the painting. Art is born in so many weird and wonderful ways!

    Actually, I read that there is also a film, which was made in 1915, called 'A Fool There Was', that was based on the Kipling poem and the painting. It starred the notorious actress, Theda Bara. Apparently, she plays a vamp who seduces and corrupts a good man, so that sounds like it may have been based on the original scandal.

    Hi iZombie,

    Yes, just my cup of tea, too! I'll definitely be reading up further after the interesting revelations that art bliss has provided.

    Hi Justine,

    It is adorable, isn't it?! I love that picture. I'm sure he was a complicated man, and no doubt had his faults, but that picture shows a really appealing side to his character!

    As I mentioned to art bliss, I did study the Pre-Raphaelites at school, and wrongly assumed that 'The Vampire' was by Rossetti. Thank you for the link. I will definitely check it out.

    Hi Vivienne,

    Thank you! I was originally just going to put up the image of the painting, but when I found the photo of Burne-Jones with his cat, I just had to post that too!

    Hi occhio sulle espressioni

    Yes, I adore cats, as well!! It's a lovely photo isn't it?! Thank you for the compliment!

    Hi LuLu,

    Thank you! Yes they are wonderful! I love stumbling across gems like this!!

  8. Edward Burne-Jones is one of my favorite artists! I had no idea his son painted. You can see his father's influence on his style.

  9. Hi Jessica,

    Yes, I like Edward Burne-Jones, too! In fact, I've always liked the Pre-Raphaelites in general. I feel a little bad that I didn't know about Philip until recently. He certainly deserves to be acknowledged for his work.

  10. Does anyone else have the sinking suspicion that Edward Burne-Jones' cat is the real brains behind this artistic operation?

    It's almost as if the cat is saying, "That's right, Eddie. Smile for the camera. Smile big. And when we're done here, you can feed me and go back to work. Those paintings aren't going to paint themselves."

    All kidding aside, this is an amazing painting and a perfect fit here. I'm struck by all the wonderful drapery. It's like the male subject has been drained and left to drown in a pool of folds and wrinkles.

  11. Hi King Unicorn,

    Haha! Aren't cats always the brains behind any operation?!!

    Yes, all the lush drapery really gives the painting a luxurious and hedonistic tone.

  12. This is my favorite type of art. So elegant and beautiful! :)

  13. Hi Dr Blood,

    Yes, you know me! I couldn't possibly resist that picture!

    Hi Annie,

    Yep, me too!!!

  14. I'm a bit late to get here--busy days for me!
    But this picture I've seen in many books depicting the vampire seducing a man. I didn't know who had done the work until your post.

    Well done. Hope you learn more about the artist and so forth. In fact his picture rings a bell with me too and I don't know where I might have seen it!

  15. Hi Lorelei,

    Yes, I saw the painting again recently, and decided it was time to finally track down the name of the artist. The picture of Burne-Jones with the cat, I had never seen before. That was just a fantastic bonus!!

  16. Wtf is my cat doing in that picture!

  17. Hi Gabriel,

    Ha! Perhaps it's your cat's ancestor!


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