The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

June 21, 2013

June 21, 1926

Philip Burne-Jones (October 1, 1861 to June 21, 1926), inherited wealth, and a title. But his was not an old family, rather one characterized by intellectual achievement His cousins included Rudyard Kipling,  as well as the man who would become Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin. His father insisted he study painting, apparently feeling that way he would always be able to earn a living. His father was Sir Edward Burne-Jones, a very famous Victorian painter, though latterly, less so. 

Philip Burne-Jones, whose picture we got from Wikipedia, is typically viewed as unsuccessful, and the reason for this is that his work was compared unfavorably with his father's and that this was dispiriting. This theory of Angela Thirkell, his niece, seems widely accepted. That may be too obvious, however.

We include below a page from the only book 
Burne-Jones wrote: Dollars and Democracy,  (1904). This book was based on a trip to the United States, in 1902. I include a page from the book since that was the easiest way to capture this picture of a cat Burne-Jones drew.

For the chief impression you get on landing in New York, and the last you have on leaving it, is of an atmosphere of frightful hurry and restless bustle everywhere. It is very fatiguing. ..
[Even the children look]
image of individual page

Philip Burne-Jones was a different type of person than his father; Philip was an introvert, Edward an extrovert. Philip was talented, and intellectual. That does not mean however that Philip was very smart. It is possible that the man who could think that the question, "Whoever would stop to say 'puss, puss,' to an American cat," was a rhetorical one, was himself, not terribly bright.

If I am correct Philip's failure in life, was due to his own brains. He did drop out of Oxford. And if this is the case, it is reasonable to think he may have been quite happy in his life. He was only a failure by the lights of those who achieved a certain amount of fame, and that, though Philip may not have realized this, does not really need intelligence.  Philip, after all, did inherit his father's love of cats. 

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