Muse to Maker: Leading ladies at Red House

Painting on the settle at Red House

From the Morris women: Janey, Jenny and May, to Georgiana Burne-Jones, Lizzie Siddal and Lucy Faulkner, the women in the Pre-Raphaelite circle have made a huge contribution to art, literature and history. This year we will be celebrating their legacies and exploring their work through an exhibition and a series of short talks.

The key female figure at Red House is Janey. Born in Oxford, to a lower class family, Janey Burden's life changed dramatically when she was spotted by Rossetti and became a model for both him and Edward Burne-Jones. With this introduction to the Pre-Raphaelites it wasnt long before she met William Morris. Morris soon declared his love for Janey, and although she later admits she never loved him, they marry.

This is a huge change in fortunes for Janey, who without entry into this artistic circle, would have likely ended up uneducated and in service like her mother. Her marriage to Morris gave her financial security and access to education. She became fluent in French and Italian and was a voracious reader. She also picked up creative skills and she is best known today for her embroidery, eventually managing the embroidery department of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., a skill she passed on to her daughter May.

" I'm a remarkable woman - always was, though none of you seemed to think so"
- May Morris

This fascinating story of Janey's transformation as well as the lives and work of the other Pre-Raphaelite women will be explored in short ten minute talks that run daily at 2pm and 3pm, and in an exhibition within the house opening on 18th July.

Check the Red House website throughout the year to meet & hear the stories of all the Pre-Raphaelite women.