Monday, December 5, 2011

Pre-Raphaelite Designer

William Burges is best known for the medieval fantasy environments he conceived and built for wealthy British clients in the 1860s and 70s. But he first came to my notice when I saw these photos of his design for a brooch and the brooch itself.

In his prime Burges seems to have been hugely celebrated. Yet by the time he died at the early age of 51 his style had, we are told, already gone out of fashion. And this strand of mock-medieval Victorianism remained largely a sort of joke until quite recently, when tastes finally cycled back around to it again.

To me the small-scale decorative designs (in various materials, as above) are the accessible side of the legacy Burges left. His psychedelic ceilings (below) even today seem overly demanding.