Venue: Birmingham & Midland Institute, 9 Margaret Street, Birmingham – Lecture starts at 11.00 a.m. Reception from 10.30am.
Edward Burne-Jones’s early years as an artist were spent under the watchful eye of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1870s he had developed an independent and idiosyncratic style of watercolour painting, which would defiantly challenge the existing conventions of the medium. His continual quest for improvement and the perfect expression of his personal vision led him to experiment with many of the latest new nineteenth-century painting materials which he purchased from the respected artists’ colourman, Charles Roberson, whose sales ledgers survive today. My research, based largely on the Roberson ledgers, reveals fascinating insights into the artist’s evolving technical practice in the medium of watercolour over the course of his whole career. Works in the collection of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery provide the main focus of this lecture.
Fiona Mann completed her PhD in History of Art at Oxford Brookes University in 2012, under the supervision of Professor Christiana Payne. Her thesis was entitled “Brushing the Surface: The Practice and Critical Reception of Watercolour Techniques in England 1850-1880” and it investigated the impact of new nineteenth-century watercolour materials and equipment on the radical painting techniques of contemporary artists, including Samuel Palmer, Frederick Lewis, Myles Birket Foster, John William North and Edward Burne-Jones. Her MA studies focussed on the watercolours of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She has subsequently published an article on writers in art in the British periodical press between 1850 and 1880 in the British Art Journal; and on the watercolour painting methods of Edward Burne-Jones in the Burlington Magazine. She is currently researching the oil painting materials and techniques used by Burne-Jones, for which she has received a Paul Mellon Research Grant.
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