The present lot is a study for the head of Perseus, from the eponymous series which Burne-Jones began in 1875. The cycle was commissioned for the music room of the Conservative politician, Arthur Balfour (1848-1940) who served as Prime Minister between 1902-1906. Balfour left the subject entirely open for Burne-Jones’ interpretation, and the artist selected the Legend of Perseus as his inspiration, using William Morris’s Earthly Paradise for his source material. In typical fashion Burne-Jones produced a wealth of preliminary material, filling an entire sketchbook from July 1875 with related drawings. The current head study doesn’t appear to directly relate to any particular scene in the series, and was likely executed as part of the artist’s preparations.