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Edward Burne-Jones, 1833–1898

Fair Rosamund and Queen Eleanor

Materials & Techniques:
Mixed media on paper
19 1/2 x 14 3/4 inches (49.5 x 37.5 cm)

Signed and dated, in red paint, lower right: "EBJ | 1861" (initials in monogram)

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
costume | curtain | death | historical subject | interior | jealousy | labyrinth | lute | mirror | murder | music | musical instruments | painting (visual work) | pans (containers) | portrait | pots | Pre-Raphaelite | protection | queen (person) | thread | women
Associated People:
Henry II (1133–1189), king of England, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, and count of Anjou
Clifford, Rosamund [called Fair Rosamund] (b. before 1140?, d. 1175/6), royal mistress
Eleanor [Eleanor of Aquitaine], suo jure duchess of Aquitaine (c.1122–1204), queen of France, consort of Louis VII, and queen of England, consort of Henry II
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Through the middle of the nineteenth century, Edward Burne-Jones was closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, particularly Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who oversaw much of his artistic training. The subject matter of this picture—which Burne-Jones addressed at least five separate times—encapsulates their shared preoccupation with the legendary English past, especially as it was recorded in poetry. According to popular legend, King Henry II kept his mistress Rosamund Clifford in a secret “bower” at Woodstock Manor, protected by a surrounding maze. Henry’s jealous queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, discovered his secret, and Burne-Jones here imagines the fatal confrontation between the Queen and royal mistress. After her death at Eleanor’s hand, Rosamund was purportedly buried in the ruined nunnery at Godstowe, a site first visited by Burne-Jones in 1854. Algernon Charles Swinburne accompanied him on a subsequent visit in 1859 and published the verse drama Rosamund the following year, likely providing further inspiration to the painter.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Figuring Women - The Female in Modern British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2008-03-28 - 2008-06-08) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Modern Gothic : The Revival of Medieval Art (Yale University Art Gallery, 2000-04-04 - 2000-07-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Pre-Raphaelite Painters and Patrons in the North East (Laing Art Gallery, 1989-10-14 - 1990-01-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Acquisitions : The First Decade 1977-1986, Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1986, p. 12, no. 5, fig. 3, N590.2 A7 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Bell, Sir Edward Burne-Jones : an illustrated record and review, G. Bell & Sons, London, p. 31, NJ18 B92 B45 1910 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Burne-Jones : the paintings, graphic and decorative work of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 1833-98, Arts Council of Great Britain, London, p. 27, no. 28, NJ18 B92 A77 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Burne-Jones, Barrie & Jenkins, London, p. 15-16, 28, 58, 65-66, 70, no. 11, NJ18 B92 H37 1989 [ORBIS]

Susan P. Casteras, "Edward Burne-Jones and the legend of Fair Rosamund", The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic Studies, v. 1, Vancouver : BC, Spring 1988, p. 34-40, no. 1, NX543 J682 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Susan P. Casteras, The substance or the shadow : images of Victorian womanhood, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1982, pp. 43, 64, no. 15, fig. 40, N7630 C27 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Catalogue of loan exhibition of works by Pre-Raphaelite paainters from collections in Lancashire, The National Gallery, London, London, p. 5, no. 18, N6767.5 P7 C27 1913 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Christian, "'Theseus and Ariadne' : A Newly-Discovered Burne-Jones", The Burlington Magazine, v. 117, London, September 1975, p. 575-596, Available online available at JSTOR www.jstor.org/stable.878131

Julie F. Codell, Victorian Artists' autograph replicas : auras, aesthetics, patronage and the art market, Taylor & Francis, Ltd, New York, p. 255, ND467 .V515 2020 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 46-47, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Fortunee de Lisle, Little Books on Art, Dodge Publishing Company, New York, p. 180, Available online Available online through HathiTrust babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=gri.ark:/13960/t0tq8kq0z&view=1up&seq=5

Edward Burne-Jones : The Earthly Paradise, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern : Germany, p. 45-48, NJ18 B92 A1213 2009+ (YCBA) [YCBA]

Edward Burne-Jones: a biography, Sutton Publishing Ltd, London, p. 31, NJ18 B92 F57 1997 (YBCA) [ORBIS]

Figuring women, the female in modern British art. , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2008, p. 6-7, no. 3, V 1925 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Hidden Burne-Jones : works on paper by Edward Burne-Jones fro Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, D. Giles Limited, London, p. 12, 70, NJ18 B92 H53 2007 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, The Macmillan Company, London, p. 215, NJ18 B92 B87 1906 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Modern Gothic : the revival of medieval art, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; CT, p. 32, 78, no. 87, no. 23, NA610 M27 2000 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paintings and drawings from the Leathart collection 7th October to 18th November 1962, Laing Art Gallery, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne : UK, p. 14, no. 29, ND467.5 P7 L35+ (YCBA) [YCBA]

Leslie Parris, The Pre-Raphaelites, Tate Publishing, London, 1994, p. 295-296, N6767.5 P7 P742 1984 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : a passion for British art [large print labels], , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 1, N5220 M552 P381 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Duncan Robinson, Acquisitions : The First Decade 1977 - 1986, , Burlington Magazine, vol. 128, October 1986, p. 12, no. 5, fig. 3, N1 B87 128:3 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Rachel Hostetter Smith, "Divine Provision and the 'Preternatural Imagination of Edward Burne-Jones in the Mosaics of 'The American Church' in Rome", Religion and the Arts, v. 22, Boston : MA, 1 Jan 2018, p. 163-164, Brill?

Sotheby's sales catalogue : Highly important Victorian paintings and drawings : 1 October 1979, Sotheby's, London, lot no. 10, Auction Catalogues (YCBA) October 1979

Allen Staley, "Pre-Raphaelites in the 1860s : I Rosetti", The British Art Journal, v. 4, London, Autumn 2003, p. 12, N6761 B74+ (YCBA) [YCBA]

Allen Staley, The New Painting of the 1860s, between the pre-raphaelites and the aesthetic movement , Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., 2011, pp. 60, 300-03, 312-12, 323, pl. 279, ND467 .S72 2011 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jane Vickers, Pre-raphaelites : painters and patrons in the north east, Tyle and Wear Museum Services, Newcastle upon Tyle : UK, p. 62, no. 17, ND 467.5 P7 P72 1989 (YBCA) [ORBIS]

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