Burne-Jones was perhaps most famous during his lifetime for the painting 'King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid' (on display in Room 9). It was first exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1884, and was subsequently included in the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, where it established the artist's reputation among his European contemporaries. He worked on the composition from the late 1870s, making academic sketches of the figures from nude models. As well as the form of the crown held by the King, he was particularly attentive to the details of the drapery worn by the Beggar Maid, seeking to suggest her poverty without it seeming too 'unappetizing'.
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