Edward Burne-Jones

Lot Details

Lot 18
Edward Burne-Jones
British, 1833-1898
The Marriage of Pyramus and Thisbe
Possible partial signature Jon... (lr)
Graphite pencil and watercolor on paper laid down to japanned paper
9 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches (24.8 x 17.1 cm)

The Marriage of Pyramus and Thisbe pictures an alternative ending to the tale of star-crossed lovers described in Book IV of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Forbidden from marriage by their feuding families and failing in an attempted elopement, Pyramus and Thisbe end their lives. Here, Burne-Jones imagines their apocryphal union, the lovers embraced by the winged, rose-garlanded figure of Eros. Maria Cassavetti Zambaco, a Greek sculptor who frequented the Pre-Raphaelite circle and who was Burne-Jones's mistress from 1866, modeled for Thisbe. The artists' liaison ultimately paralleled that of Pyramus and Thisbe: Zambaco attempted suicide in 1869, and their affair fizzled around 1875.

This work's symmetrical composition, geometric forms and saturated color scheme intimate that it served as a tile, embroidery or stained glass design for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. Burne-Jones was a partner in the British decorative arts firm and its leading stained glass designer. A larger and probably earlier version of this piece appeared on the art market in 2003.

We are grateful to Dr. Elisa Korb of Misericordia University for confirming the attribution to Burne-Jones, based on photographs, and for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.



Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Sold for $8,125 (includes buyer's premium)

Additional Notes & Condition Report

Paper toned. Pin hole in the margin at the upper left edge. Possible U-shaped repair to the paper at the sleeve of Pyramus at the upper center right, approximately 1/4 of an inch.


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Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Sold for $8,125 (includes buyer's premium)

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Catalogue Info

European, American, Modern, Contemporary & Street Art

Tue, Nov 05, 2013 at 11am EST
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