In 1880 Burne-Jones acquired a second home at Rottingdean, near Brighton, to which he often retreated from the bustle of London. Encouraged by his proximity to the sea, he conjured up a marine fantasy world, and between 1880 and 1890 he drew and painted a number of works on the theme of sea-nymphs or mermaids. He recalled 'the best was a mer-wife giving her mer-baby an air bath and it is howling with misery'. These works have as their background an attractive blend of downland and seashore. This watercolour was given to the gallery by Katherine Lewis, who was the recipient of many letters from the artist, which he embellished with amusing drawings.
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