Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt

Decorative Design: Sun Ripening Corn


Not on display

Gold paint and watercolour on paper
Support: 250 × 179 mm
Purchased with assistance from the Abbott Fund 1981

Display caption

At the time Burne-Jones and his family moved into their house in Rottingdean (see no.72) the rural setting could not have been more idyllic. From the back windows Burne-Jones was able to look up over 'the tender, bowed locks of corn' towards a windmill on the brim of the rolling downland. From 1885 he started to set down simple outline drawings in a 'secret' sketchbook, now in the British Museum. As well as designs for the mosaic scheme installed in the American Episcopal Church in Rome, the sketchbook contains a preparatory study for this watercolour, which he completed at some point during the last decade of his life.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry


Not inscribed
Watercolour with gold leaf on prepared paper, 9 3/4 × 7 (25 × 17.9)
Purchased (out of the Abbot Bequest and Grant-in-Aid) 1981
Prov: Given by the artist to Helen Mary Gaskell; by descent until sold, from 'the Gaskell Family collection of works by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones’, Sotheby's Belgravia 23 March 1981 (46, repr.), bt Christopher Wood Gallery, whence purchased November 1981.
Exh: Pre-Raphaelites and Academics, Christopher Wood Gallery, 13 October–6 November 1981 (21, repr.).

This is characteristic of the decorative designs which Burne-Jones executed in the last decade of his life. He gave it to his friend and confidante Helen Mary Gaskell; for her friendship with Burne-Jones during the last twenty years of the artist's life, see Penelope Fitzgerald, Edward Burne-Jones, 1975, chapter 16 (pp.238–250), passim. The sale in 1981 of works by Burne-Jones from the Gaskell family collection included a pencil portrait of Helen Mary Gaskell (36, repr., also Fitzgerald, op.cit., facing p.241).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984


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