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Following his visits to Venice and Northern Italy in 1859 and again in 1862, Burne-Jones created a number of watercolours which recall the bucolic pastoral mood of Giorgione and Titian. The figures in this study can be related to those in 'An Idyll', which was completed in 1862 (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery). However, the composition also anticipates the design of 'Le Chant d'Amour', as is suggested by the inscription of Burne-Jones's assistant, Charles Fairfax Murray. This was a subject the artist used to decorate a piano in the early 1860s (Victoria and Albert Museum) and one that he returned to in watercolour, in gouache and in oil.

August 2004