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

Love disguised as Reason

Details
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt., A.R.A., R.W.S. (1833-1898)
Love disguised as Reason
signed with initials 'EBJ' (lower right)
pencil, watercolour and bodycolour heightened with gold and touches of gum arabic on paper
13 5/8 x 7 ¼ in. (34.6 x 18.5 cm.)
Provenance
The artist, by whom given to his daughter,
Margaret Mackail (1866-1953), and by descent to her daughter,
Angela Margaret Thirkell (née Mackail) (1890-1966), and by descent to her son,
Graham Campbell McInnes (1912-1970), and by descent to his daughter.

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Clare Keiller
Clare Keiller

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Lot Essay

The present drawing is a study for the left-hand section of a larger watercolour of Love disguised as Reason, dated 1870 and now in the South African National Gallery, Cape Town. In that composition, which can also be seen in the photogravure after the watercolour, now in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (fig. 1), the two young women face Cupid, or Love, whose face is half hidden by the hood of the cloak of Reason, as he presents them with a clearly irrefutable argument. There is no literary background or narrative to the drawing, nor any sense of moralising. Behind the figures is an extensive town, giving the impression that the girls have stumbled across Love whilst walking. The present drawing has a far less expansive background, with a large building to the left, and trees closing the view to the right. The figures' poses are very close to the finished picture, and it seems likely that this study was an exercise in finalising the background against their poses. A full pencil study of the foreground of the composition, with the figures nude, is in the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow. Burne-Jones often made such preliminary studies, with the figures nude, in order to better understand the physiology and poses of his subjects, before adding the clothes and drapery later. A fully clothed pencil study of Love is at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

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