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Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography, The Last Pre-Raphaelite is Fiona MacCarthy's account of the life of Edward Burne-Jones, the greatest British artist of the second half of the nineteenth century. The angels on our Christmas cards, the stained glass in our churches, the great paintings in our galleries - Edward Burne-Jones' work is all around us. The most admired British artist of his generation, he was a leading figure with Oscar Wilde in the aesthetic movement of the 1880s, inventing what became a widespread 'Burne-Jones look'. The bridge between Victorian and modern art, he influenced t just his immediate circle but artists such as Klimt and Picasso. In this gripping book Fiona MacCarthy explores and re-evaluates his art and life - his battle against vicious public hostility, the romantic susceptibility to female beauty that would inspire his art and ruin his marriage, his ill health and depressive sensibility, the devastating rift with his great friend and collaborator William Morris as their views on art and politics diverged. With new research and fresh historical perspective, The Last Pre-Raphaelite tells the extraordinary, dramatic story of Burne-Jones as an artist, a key figure in Victorian society and a peculiarly captivating man.
Fiona MacCarthy established herself as one of the leading writers of biography in Britain with her widely acclaimed book Eric Gill, published in 1989. Byron: Life and Legend was described by A. N. Wilson as 'a flawless triumph' and William Morris, described by A. S. Byatt as 'large, delicious and intelligent, full of shining detail', won the Wolfson History Prize and the Writers' Guild Non-Fiction Award. Fiona MacCarthy received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography for The Last Pre-Raphaelite, and was awarded the OBE for services to literature in 2009.