One of the very first Pre-Raphaelite cartoons I drew in my sketchbook (if not the first!), just beause I wanted to see Topsy and Ned have a conversation. This was partly based on something I read in Josceline Dimbleby's book, "May and Amy" (which is the American title) which concerns Dimbleby's great-grandmother May and her romantic friendship with Edward Burne-Jones.
Ned wrote in a letter to his friend May comparing his and his friend William Morris' working styles as they sat together working on pages for what would become known as the Kelmscott Chaucer:
"All the time Morris is designing his borders here on Sunday morning one hears his teeth almost gnashing-- at least gnattering and grinding together... and when I (your poor friend) work I hold my breath, and when the stroke or touch is over I have to sigh heavily so that anyone hearing would think I was unhappy-- and yet both I suppose are to steady the hand-- but isn't it strange."
|The Kelmscott Chaucer, one of the most beautifully designed books of all time, |
with borders by Morris and illustrations by Burne-Jones. Ned called it a
"pocket cathedral" when it was done.