Sunday, January 29, 2012


Its easier for me to work on Facebook and readers here might enjoy my new groups

Ned Burne-Jones and his life and Art

Women Pre Raphaelite Artists

though for non FB users I will keep this blog going, though I do far more posts on FB.

Julia Cameron appreciation group

Edward Burne-Jones - Woman in a Classical Robe (1862)

Coloured chalks on paper
Signed with initials and dated 1862

Edward Burne-Jones - Study of robed seated figure (c.1866)

Pencil and coloured chalks
Signed with initials

Edward Burne-Jones - A Knight and his Lady

Watercolour and bodycolour on vellum
Signed with initials, inscribed and dated EBJ London Feb 1859

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sketching from Nature

Edward Burne-Jones - The Tree of Jesse

1860 – 1861

This is a stained glass design for the east window of Waltham Abbey executed by James Powell & Sons in 1861. A version of the central panel was exhibited in the International Exhibition in 1862, and is now also in Birmingham's collection (1977M1).Each figure is identified by the artist. The left window, from bottom to top are: Adam (holding fruit, with serpent to his left), Noah (holding a small ark; name spelled 'Noea' or 'Noeh'); Jacob (holding a ladder); Gideon (holding fleece); Joshua (in armour holding the sun and moon); Samson (with flowing tresses); and Moses (unlabelled by the artist, but holding the 2 stone tablets of the Ten Commandments). Middle window, with the actual Tree of Jesse features (from bottom to top): the four animorphic symbols of the Evangelists with scrolls around them quoting the first lines of their respective Gospels (the man's scroll, St. Matthew, reads 'Generations of Jesus Christ of the book of'; above him is the eagle of St. John, whose Gospel begins 'In the beginning was the Word'; opposite is the ox of St. Luke, with 'There was in the days of Herod'; the lion is St. Mark, with 'The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.). These creatures flank the sleeping body of Jesse, from which the tree springs. The first branch holds (from left to right): Achaz (kneeling in front of an altar with a statue); Solomon (holding the Temple); David (playing a lyre); Roboam (or Roboham, stringing a bow). The next branch supports: Hezekiah (the king, holding a sundial [?]; Manassas (inprisoned and in chains); Josias (the king, holding tablets [?]; Jecunias (bound and chained). The third branch shows two roundels recounting the birth of Christ, with the Nativity scene on the left and the adoration of the shepherds on the right. At the top of the tree is Jesus crucified to it, with his mother and Mary Magdalene flanking it, in mourning. The right panel is incomplete, and features the ancient Hebrew prophets with symbols associated with them, they are (from bottom to top): Esaias (or Isaiah); Jeremias (Jeremiah); Ezekiel (with the eyes of the seraphim in wheels behind him); Daniel (with a lion sleeping at his feet); Malachai and a rough sketch in pencil of Micah that is unfinished. A t the very top is John the Baptist, outlined in pen.

Edward Burne-Jones - The Tomb of Tristram and Iseult


This is one of a series of thirteen stained glass designs illustrating the Story of Tristram and Iseult as told in Malory's 'Morte d'Arthur'. Walter Dunlop of Bradford commissioned the windows for his music room at Harden Grange, near Bingley, Yorkshire. They were made by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company in 1862. The windows are now in the collection of Bradford City Art Gallery.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Head of a young Child

Ford Madox Brown - Parisina's Sleep - Study for Head of Parisina

This is one of three studies in the Birmingham collection for the painting 'Parisina's Sleep' (now lost). They were made in 1842 when Brown was living in Paris. The picture was based on a poem of the same name by Byron which tells the tale of Prince Azo who executed his wife, Parisina, after discovering her adulterous affair with his illegitimate son, Hugo. The scene Brown chose to depict is the one in which Prince Azo first hears Parisina talk of Hugo in her sleep. In his rage he contemplates murdering her. The painting was rejected from the Paris Salon ion 1843 but it was exhibited at the British Institution two years later where it received some admiration. This study is for the head of Parisina. Although Brown studied in Belgium and lived in Paris he insisted in his 1865 one-man exhibition that the painting was inspired by the works of the Spanish masters and Rembrandt which he saw on numerous visits to the Louvre (Ford Madox Brown, 'The Exhibition of Work and other Paintings,' 1865, p. 17). This study gives a glimpse of these influences in the touches of white chalk adding dramatic lighting to the scene. LM

John Everett Millais - Sketch of Horses at Dinan, France

John Ruskin - Dumbarton Castle

In 1838 Ruskin toured Scotland with his parents. The use of strong blue and yellow in this work reflects the influence of David Cox on the young Ruskin. The catalogue of drawings produced by E. T. Cook and A. Wedderburn dates this work to 30 July 1838 (Works of Ruskin, XXXVIII, Catalogue of Drawings, p. 248).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Edward Burne-Jones - Study of a tree for 'Arthur in Avalon', with a subsidiary study of fruit on a branch

Study of a tree for 'Arthur in Avalon', with a subsidiary study of fruit on a branch
inscribed 'Smooth trunk 6 feet to/first branch' (lower left)
pencil, watermarked 'MICHALLET'
23¼ x 17 in. (59 x 43.2 cm.); and two studies for the writing beneath 'Arthur in Avalon' from the studio of Burne-Jones

Edward Burne-Jones - Orpheus and Eurydice

signed with initials 'EBJ' (lower left), with inscription 'Orpheus and Eurydice/by/E.Burne-Jones' and 'No. 323/by E Burne-Jones ARA/Edmund Oldfield Esq./19 Thurloe Square/...' (on two old labels attached to the reverse of the frame)
pencil, bodycolour and gold, with gum arabic, on a prepared ground, painted circle
9¼ x 8¾ in. (23.6 x 22.3 cm.)

The son of Apollo and the muse Calliope, Orpheus was a Thracian poet who played the lyre so skilfully that even wild beasts were entranced. He married Eurydice, a wood nymph, but the marriage was not blessed with happiness. Bitten by a snake as she fled the advances of a lusty shepherd, Eurydice died, and Orpheus determined to seek her in Hades. He pleaded with Pluto and Proserpine, the deities of the underworld, for her release, accompanying his words with strains on the lyre so sweet that all who heard shed tears. The gods relented and allowed Eurydice to follow her husband on condition that he did not look back during their journey. The temptation, however, was too great; just as they were reaching the upper world, Orpheus turned to look at Eurydice and she was snatched back into the shades.

Inconsolable at his second loss, Orpheus shunned female company and thereby excited the fury of the Thracian women as they celebrated the orgies of Bacchus. Tearing him limb from limb, they threw his head into the river Hebrus, where it continued to lament Eurydice as it floated down to the Aegean sea. The couple were finally united in Hades, and Jupiter placed Orpheus' lyre among the stars.

The subject appealed strongly to artists of the Symbolist period, who saw the head of Orpheus still singing after death as an image of the immortality of art. In France the theme inspired a famous painting by Gustave Moreau, exhibited at the Salon of 1866 (Musée d'Orsay); and it was subsquently treated by Puvis de Chavannes, Odilon Redon and others. In England its exponents included G.F. Watts, Burne-Jones, J.W. Waterhouse and Charles Ricketts.

It was typical of Burne-Jones's fertility of imagination that he made a long series of designs, illustrating every aspect of the story. They date from the early 1870s and are roundel in form, the artist clearly relishing the challenge this posed. Two distinct versions exist: a set of ten highly-finished pencil drawings (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) and a number of more loosely handled designs in brown monochrome gouache. The present drawing and lot 25 belong to the latter category, of which there are further examples in the Tate Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Though so different in treatment, both sets of drawings betray the strong Italian influence that is characteristic of Burne-Jones's work at this period. He made his last visits to Italy in 1871 and 1873, studying Mantegna, Botticelli, Michelangelo and other masters intently.

The story of Orpheus obviously lent itself to the decoration of a musical instrument, and Burne-Jones did in fact adapt the ten pencil drawings when painting the so-called 'Graham' or 'Orpheus' piano in 1879-80. This famous instrument (private collection) was commissioned by his great patron William Graham as a twenty-first birthday present for his daughter Frances, herself one of the artist's most intimate friends. Made by the firm of Broadwood, the piano was both designed and decorated by Burne-Jones, whose idea was to replace the curves and bulges of the standard Victorian grand with a simpler and more vigorous design based on the harpsichord. The result was so popular that Broadwood was encouraged to market it commercially, although the original version, elaborately decorated by Burne-Jones and his assistants, remains unique. For further details and photographs, see Burne-Jones, exh. Hayward Gallery, London, etc., 1975-6, cat. nos. 208-10.