Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt

Clara von Bork 1560

1860

Medium
Watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions
Support: 342 x 179 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by W. Graham Robertson 1948
Reference
N05878

Display caption

This picture depicts Clara von Dewitz, the wife of Marcus Bork, another character from Meinhold's novel 'Sidonia the Sorceress' (see also no.2). Meinhold describes her as 'intelligent, courageous, and faithful, with a quiet, amiable disposition, and of most pious and Christian demeanour'. Burne-Jones conveys her considerate nature through her act of cradling, and thereby protecting, some fledgling doves from the predatory attentions of a black cat. It is likely that the cat is Sidonia's familiar (a spirit or demon that serves a witch). If so, its presence may allude to the grisly death Clara meets at the hands of the evil enchantress.

Gallery label, June 1993