Befuddled Puppy

PRE-RAPHAELITE (founded 1848) Biography

Befuddled Puppy (England, 1880)

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Violet ink on paper
Inscribed:The Grange Northend W.


15.50cm high
10.20cm wide
(6.10 inches high)
(4.02 inches wide)
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... Father is doing a picture of Mother and Phil and me at the Piano and I have got to go and sit in a few minutes. So good bye, my dear, sweet Titia please give my love to Becca.

I am your very loving


April 2nd 1880

My darling Kin creature,
You poor illused thing. I am so sorry for you - I hope it is all right now your tooth is out. Becca gave me a thrilling account of what took place and horrified me to the last degree. Every one asked after you and everyone sent their love. I hope Rebecca has given it. I missed you so at ?? and Mary, Madge, Rebecca and I wandered up and down the room disconsolate. I suppose you will know by the time this reaches you but I must tell you it is so nice. Dilke and Firth are both in! And the votes stand thus:-

Isn’t it nice? Miss Jones told me that she was a “stanch liberal” that is nice too. I suppose you will be at school on Monday and will be all right again - you duck. This letter sounds very gushing, but I mean it all, which takes off the edge perhaps. Please give the enclosed paper to Rebecca and the stamp if it should have dropped out.
Your loving
Margaret Burne-Jones

Wilbury House,
April 21st 1880

My beloved Titia,
With your ring on my finger and a letter of yours not far off, I don’t feel very distant from you though there are endless miles between us. We come back to town on Sunday, so we shall have been away a week. Unless we are able to meet oftener in the Summer than we have been able up till now, I think we had better read the Edinburgh Lectures to ourselves, but how about the other Ruskins when we have finished that because you haven’t got them, have you? Phil goes back to Oxford on Friday, he will be gone of course when we get back - it was quite horrid to go away, before he went back and miss nearly three days of him. It will be so lonely too, because these holidays have been so full, with Lily Norton staying with us too, and something happening everyday. Here at Wilbury the hunting season is over. I'm so glad, but there is hawking which is just as bad. Yesterday one of the little dogs got its foot caught in the most awful iron trap, with dreadful teeth and so strong that it took two men to undo - isn't it wicked to put such things for poor little rabbits, who would have no one to come and take it out and bathe it and pet it.
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
It is tomorrow morning. I am writing before breakfast, don’t be astonished at my early hours, because breakfast is at half past nine! We have a good deal of lawn tennis here - yesterday Madeline and Pamela and I went a delightful erratic walk all about the place - the primroses are still out beautifully and pale violets. In the afternoon Mrs. Wyndham, Mary and the children and a gentleman who is staying here went out to play lawn tennis and the Boys and I stayed at home and played here. Guy is a beautiful player - he has been champion two years running of the Wilbury tournament - so yesterday he gave me five games out of the set and 30 of the last game and he won! There is going to be a ball here on Tuesday, but we come home on Sunday so we shan’t be here, please excuse all the blots and smudges but you know what a quill pen is. Now dear, dear Titia I must stop. I haven't written a very long letter but I haven’t been here long enough to have much to say.
Ever your own

[reverse] Father has just drawn these. Do they make you happy?

The Grange Northend W.

My blessed Titia
Has your up out come? Mine has and I am abominable, 26th out of 33!!! I feel so ashamed because though it is my first term you were so good your first term. It is true Midsummer is harder than Easter, but then ......I will here disclose to you the depths of my ignorance and wickedness.

Subjects Gained Max Place
Arith 34 100 23rd
Hist 24 100 27th
French 45 100 20th
Ger 76 100 9th Hon
Lat 57 100 15 div II

Position of 33 - 26
(I think there are only 15 girls in the Lower Div: for Latin so I must be last!)
Gern. Pro. Very satisfactory
Con: Very good
absent - twice
Late never(!) they’ve put it down wrong.
Oh, have you heard that our dear, dear Mr. Gladstone is ill he’s got congestion of the lungs or something. What will happen if by any miserable chance he dies, all Europe will be upset and we shall have wars and tories and never, never another man like Gladstone. I think I shall go mad if he dies he has done such a lot of good and all the power the Liberals have got now is owing to his hand?? working. But to leave this melancholy thing, which I hope won’t happen.

Father has been ill so he went down to Brighton and when he was there he sent for Phil and me and we went from Thursday till Saturday and enjoyed it very much, the only thing was that the wind blew so very hard that we were nearly blown off our legs. The Place was crowded and on Saturday you could hardly move. I suppose people were coming down from Saturday to Tuesday to spend their bank-holiday which is not a very enchanting day, for it is drizzling dreadfully. My ducky Titia, I shall be so glad to see you next term, but I shan’t be glad for the holidays to be over. I had a letter from Molly this morning, a long one though disjointed one. My address from next Saturday till that day week will be.
Miss Burne-Jones
(in case you have forgotten my name)
Wilbury House
Then we are going on to Sydmouth (but I will give you the addresses as they come) then to Exmoor and then to Westward Ho!

I haven't the faintest idea of Mabel’s address will you tell it me. I mean her country one, and I shan’t know what to say when I write, I shall just write one letter, I think it is rather hypocritical to write much to a person you don't care for very much. Did you write and ask Edith Watson to take care of our rulers and pens and pew? I hope you remembered because I am attached to mine - Father is doing a picture of Mother and Phil and me at the Piano and I have got to go and sit in a few minutes. So good bye, my dear, sweet Titia please give my love to Becca.

I am your very loving


PS please tell me your places and marks.

Burne-Jones is the most important artist in the second generation of Pre-Raphaelitism. His early works were influenced by Rossetti but in the mid-1860’s his own distinctive style developed. This style reveals his admiration for the early Renaissance but is never merely derivative or decorative. His paintings always embody an emotional charge and often conceal private autobiographical meanings.

Burne-Jones was the son of a Birmingham framemaker and went up to Exeter College in Oxford in 1853 where he met his life-long friend William Morris. He had always been an enthusiastic amateur artist: at Oxford he read Ruskin and decided against his intention to enter the church, but to become a painter. Ruskin’s writings and the collection of Thomas Combe in Oxford gave him an enthusiasm for the Pre-Raphaelites. At the beginning of 1856 he met Rossetti who encouraged him to move to London, gave him informal lessons and initiated his career. In 1857 he joined Rossetti painting murals in the Oxford Union building. He married in 1860 and in 1861 he was a founder member of Morris & Company. His early work was influenced by Rossetti’s medievalism and at that time he produced very detailed finished pen and ink drawings and small intense watercolours.