Edward Burne-Jones (British painter and designer) 1833 - 1898
The third of the "The Legend of Briar Rose" series, 2 of 3
The Garden Court - Study, 1889
bodycolour and chalk on paper
59 x 89 cm.
signed and dated l.l.
Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Burne-Jones's interest in the Sleeping Beauty story of the Briar Rose began as early as a tile panel in 1864. A small series of oil paintings for William Graham followed, and then a larger set of four oils, finally completed in 1890 before being bought by Alexander Henderson, later 1st Lord Faringdon, and installed in Buscot Park, Oxfordshire. Changes during this process to the Garden Court scene were worked out in this series of six large bodycolours, now in the Birmingham collection.
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The Legend of Briar Rose is the title of a series of paintings 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.
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 second Briar Rose series is the the Buscot Park series. They are all at Buscot Park, Oxfordshire, UK
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In 1887 Burne-Jones redrew all the figures of the sleeping girls. The date on the painting (1889) may have been added when they have given backgrounds,to make them semi-independed pictures for the exhibition at the New Gallery in 1890.
To compare the final Garden Court version, watch: https://www.facebook.com/