Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt

Fountain of Youth

1873–81

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions
Support: 623 x 1030 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1919
Reference
N03428

Display caption

According to his wife, Burne-Jones first began a large version of 'The Fountain of Youth' in 1873, which may be identified as this painting. The fountain of immortality was a theme he returned to several times over the years. Although the precise source of the subject is unknown, it is most probably derived from classical mythology. The Muses were thought to visit a spring on Mount Parnassis from which sprang the fountain of Castalia, the source of poetic inspiration.

Gallery label, September 2004