Jane Morris

Date of birth: 1839 — Date of death: 1914

Embroiderer. Daughter of Robert Burden and Ann Maizey. Little is known about Jane's early life. She sat as a model for Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) and, as an embroiderer and wife of William Morris (1834-1896), created furnishings for Red House. Rossetti and Edward Burne Jones (1833-1898) noticed Jane's beauty whilst they were at a performance of the Drury Lane Theatre Company in Oxford, 1857, and asked her to model for them. She was introduced to Morris, who is believed to have provided her with a private education. They married in 1859 and moved to Red House in 1860 where she bore two children in 1861 and 1862. Jane Morris produced high quality furnishings for Red House, and was a significant influence on the founding of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. in 1861. She embarked on an affair with Rossetti in the late 1860s, when she modelled for paintings such as Venus Astarte (1877, Manchester City Galleries) and Proserpine (1874, Tate collection - a smaller version is held by Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery). Morris exhibited her work at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in the late 1880s and early 1890s. In her later years, she contributed to May Morris's (1862-1938) The Collected Works of William Morris (1910-1915).