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In 1880 the piano makers Broadwood completed a piano which had been designed and decorated by Burne-Jones. The instrument was a present for Frances Graham from her father, William, one of Burne-Jones's most devoted patrons. On the sides of the piano Burne-Jones painted a number of scenes from the story of Orpheus in grey monochrome. The studies shown here predate his main work on the project and only two of them were eventually used (nos.33 and 36). Throughout his career Burne-Jones was interested in the possibilities of reforming the appearance of pianos, referring to them as the 'very altar of homes, and a second hearth to people'.

August 2004