Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt

The Golden Stairs

1880

In Tate Britain

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 2692 x 1168 mm
frame: 3162 x 1637 x 122 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Lord Battersea 1924
Reference
N04005

Display caption

This painting is an example of Burne-Jones’s interest in investigating a mood rather than telling a story. He deliberately made his pictures mysterious and the meaning of this work has been debated by critics. One suggestion is that the staircase, without visible beginning or end, represents continuous movement. Models for the painting include Frances Graham, daughter of Burne-Jones’s patron William Graham and Mary Gladstone, daughter of British Prime Minister WE Gladstone. Burne-Jones’s daughter, Margaret, is pictured at the top of the stairs.

Gallery label, August 2019

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