Essays and Introductions

Essays and Introductions

Essays and Introductions

Essays and Introductions

Excerpt

When I was thirty I thought the best of modern pictures were four or five portraits by Watts (I disliked his allegorical pictures--had not allegory spoiled Edmund Spenser?); four or five pictures by Madox Brown; four or five early Millais; four or five Rossettis where there are several figures engaged in some dramatic action; and an indefinite number of engravings by William Blake who was my particular study. When I was thirty-five or so a woman of genius asked me to defend her against a German connoisseur. She had made her beautiful house a shrine for certain late Burne-Jones's.

The Burne-Jones Cartoons
Have preserved her eyes.

When I arrived he had firmly planted on a drawingroom chair a picture by Renoir or perhaps an imitator, of a fat, naked woman lying on a Turkey carpet and had begun to call Burne-Jones empty and obsolete. She took me to another room and reproached me for keeping silent, but excused me as I must be upset by the connoisseur's 'over-dressed wife.' I could not excuse myself because I admired that slight, elegant, pale lady.

A little later poets younger than myself, especially the one I knew best, began to curse that romantic subject-matter which English literature seemed to share . . .

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