Janey Morris: Pre-Raphaelite Muse

National Portrait Gallery

12 November 2013 – 11 May 2014

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To mark the centenary of her death in 1914, a series of photographs capture the beauty of the dark-haired Pre-Raphaelite model.

Born in 1839 to a stableman and laundress, Jane Burden grew up in impoverished surroundings in Oxford.

Although she married William Morris in 1859, it was Dante Gabriel Rossetti who first spotted Jane at a performance at Drury Lane Theatre in 1857 and asked her if she would model for his paintings.

Following several sittings with Rosetti she sat for Morris, who quickly fell in love with the young model and shortly after the pair became engaged.

Despite her marriage to Morris, she continued to have a relationship with Rosetti and remained an important muse for both men, posing as Pandora, Proserpine, Astarte and Queen Guinevere.  

In her own right, Morris was also a renowned embroiderer in the Arts & Crafts movement, and actively involved in the family firm Morris & Co.

Known to family and friends as Janey, she is seen in this display in photographs taken by Frederick Hollyer in 1874 and by Emery Walker in 1898, as well as in portraits alongside her husband, their daughters Jenny and May and friends Georgiana and Edward Burne-Jones.

Several images are prints that Jane herself owned, such as those of her in widowhood, taken at Kelmscott Manor which have remained previously unshown.

Venue information

Opening times

Sat – Wed, 10am – 6pm
Thu – Fri, 10am – 9pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec

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