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The story of the Sleeping Beauty had an enduring fascination for Burne-Jones, who read it in Charles Perrault's 'Contes du Temps Passé'. During the early 1870s he worked on a set of three paintings for his important patron William Graham, which he planned to re-work on a larger scale. After the completion of this first set, he designed a fourth subject, 'The Garden Court', to which the drawings exhibited here are related. The two larger studies were executed at the end of the 1880s, prior to the exhibition of the four large 'Briar Rose' canvases in 1890. The finished paintings were acquired by the first Lord Faringdon for Buscot Park in Oxfordshire (now owned by the National Trust).

September 2004