Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue
William Burges (1827-1881), Architect and designer
A lifelong bachelor, increasingly odd in appearance – he was known as ‘Ugly Burges’ to distinguish him from J.B. (‘Pretty’) Burgess the painter – he died unexpectedly in the same year as his rival G.E. Street. Like a number of the Pre-Raphaelite generation, he seems to have enjoyed opium and alcohol, and the intensity of his vision was perhaps diluted by a luxurious lifestyle. But no Gothic revivalist was more highly gifted, or better loved.
…poor dear Billy Burgess [sic] is dead. He was a very nice little fellow, and it was a well-known joke of his at the Club that he was only waiting for Joe’s [Jopling] decease to be my No.3. He seems to have caught cold in the train coming from Bute Castle, and partial paralysis set in, which they feared would affect the heart. It evidently did, and he has gone, poor fellow. […] He was a very clever architect, and had built himself a wonderfully curious house near Val Prinsep’s. Walls thick enough to last half a dozen centuries!
Footnotesback to top
Referencesback to topCharteris 1931
Charteris, E., The Life and Letters of Sir Edmund Gosse, London, 1931.
Christian, J., Edward Burne-Jones the Hidden Humourist, London, 2011.
Crook, J.M., William Burges and the High Victorian Dream, London, 1981.
Crook, J.M., ‘Burges, William (1827–1881)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., May 2006.
Crook & Lennox-Boyd 1984
Crook, J.M., and C.A. Lennox-Boyd, Axel Haig and the Victorian Vision of the Middle Ages, London, 1984.
Godwin, E.W., ‘William Burges’, British Architect, vol.15, 1881, pp.213–15.
Jopling, L., Twenty Years of My Life, 1867 to 1887, London, 1925.
Pritchard, H. Baden, ‘The Van Der Weyde Electric Studio in Regent Street’, in The Photographic Studios of Europe, London, 1882; repr. New York, 1973, pp.72–6.
Rossetti, W.M., Some Reminiscences and Other Writings, 2 vols, London, 1906.
Soros, S. Weber, ed., E.W. Godwin: Aesthetic Movement Architect and Designer, exh. cat., Bard Center, New York, 1999.