Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt., A.R.A., R.W.S. (1833-1898)
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Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt., A.R.A., R.W.S. (1833-1898)

A Minstrel: Study for 'The Mill'

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt., A.R.A., R.W.S. (1833-1898)
A Minstrel: Study for 'The Mill'
signed with initials 'EB-J' (lower right)
pencil on paper
13 ¼ x 7 in. (33.5 x 17.8 cm.)
Henrietta Litchfield.
Sir Geoffrey Keynes.
Margaret Keynes.
with Peter Nahum, London, where purchased by the present owners.
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Lot Essay

The present drawing is a study for the musician in the far right of Burne-Jones' painting The Mill (Victoria & Albert Museum, London, fig. 1), begun in 1870 and according to the artist's work record, was worked on intermittently for the next twelve years, particularly in 1870, 1873, 1878, 1879 and 1881. It was finished shortly before it was exhibited in 1882 at the Grosvenor Gallery. The painting marked a return to a more colourful and romantic style of painting following a period of severe, almost monochromatic classicism. Unlike Rossetti, much of Burne-Jones' work has no literary inspiration, but seeks to evoke a mood, in a comparable manner to the effect of music. The painting was purchased by Constantine Ionides, a wealthy stockbroker, who formed a large collection of paintings by contemporary artists. His entire collection was bequeathed to the Victoria & Albert Museum, and as such is the only collection formed in England during the Aesthetic period to have remained together to this day.

Sir Geoffrey Keynes (1887-1982)was a surgeon, scholar and bibliophile, as well as a prolific collector of art. He became a leading authority on William Blake, and was fascinated by the intertwining of art and literature in the work of the Pre-Raphaelites. Much of his collection was donated to the Fitzwilliam Museum after his death.

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