Edward Burne-Jones (British painter) 1833 - 1898
The second "The Legend of Briar Rose" series, 1 of 4, Buscot Park
Briar Wood, 1870-1890
oil on panel
49 by 98¼ inches
Buscot Park, Oxfordshire, UK
The Legend of Briar Rose is the title of a series of paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones which were completed between 1885 and 1890. The four original paintings - The Briar Wood, The Council Chamber, The Garden Court and The Rose Bower - and an additional ten adjoining panels, are located at Buscot Park in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. Each major panel measures 49 by 98¼ inches but the ten joining panels vary in width.
Burne-Jones drew his inspiration for the Briar Rose Series from the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, which had been retold in the eighteenth century by Charles Perrault in his Contes du Temps Passé and by Tennyson in his 1842 poem Day Dream. Burne-Jones chose to focus on a single moment from the famous story - when the brave prince, having battled through the briar wood, first comes upon the bewitched court and the princess he is to awake with a kiss.
Burne-Jones carefully composed the series so that the eye passes naturally from the prince standing on the left in the first scene to the object of his quest, the sleeping princess on the right of the final canvas. There is no narrative progression in the cycle, for Burne-Jones' primary concern was to create a hermetic world far from the problems of the modern world and to suggest a mood of langour.
He did this through the lazy arabesques of the briars, the abandoned poses of the sleeping figures, the shallow perspective, the intense but modulated colours and the verses inscribed beneath, which were written by William Morris expressly to be read in conjunction with the paintings.
The painting depicts the discovery of the sleeping soldiers by a Knight. In their slumber they have become completed entwined by the barbed thorns of the Briar rose. Running beneath each of the major panels is an inscription of a poem by William Morris, under The Briar Wood the inscription reads:
"The fateful slumber floats and flows
About the tangle of the rose.
But lo the fated hand and heart
To rend the slumberous curse apart."
Burne-Jones created two other series of paintings on the same subject. The Small Briar Rose series was completed before the Buscot Park series. All three paintings - The Briar Wood, The Council Chamber, The Rose Bower - are now in the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico.
The Third Briar Rose series was completed after the Buscot Park series. The three paintings have been split between three collections. The Garden Court is in Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, The Council Chamber is in the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington and The Rose Bower is in the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin.
To compare the other The Briar Wood version, watch: http://www.facebook.com/