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Sketchbook - Cupid and Psyche - Volume of 86 Studies for Morris' The Earthly Paradise

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1927P648
Collection:Fine Art Prints and Drawings
Date:1865 - 1866

Maker Information

Artist:Sir Edward Burne-Jones - View biography for Sir Edward Burne-Jones


Birmingham's collection has over 100 drawings by Burne-Jones based on the legend of Cupid and Psyche. This bound volume contains 86 studies for illustrations to 'The Story of Cupid and Psyche' made to accompany the poem in William Morris' 'The Earthly Paradise'. The project was abandoned, but not before Burne-Jones had made a great number of drawings, particularly for the Story of Cupid and Psyche.

A letter by Charles Fairfax Murray is mounted in the volume, it records: ' A series for designs for the Story of Cupid & Psyche illustrating the 'Earthly Paradise' mounted in a volume. The drawings presented by Mr Ruskin to the Oxford University [in the collection of the Ashmolean] are on tracing paper and in every respect similar in technique to the designs for the 'Hill of Venus' and 'Pygmalion' have exhibited. Once the main comp[osition] was settled the design was forwarded and completed by successive tracings enabling the artist to correct or develop the designs with comparatively trifling labour. The process as far as we know was only used by the artist for the drawings prepared for the engravings for the Earthly Paradise and was not his usual practice. The list of subjects at the beginning of the vol[ume] is in the handwriting of Wm Morris [these actually reference the wood engravings, not these illustrations, see 1913P155-208]'.

Bequeathed by James Richardson Holliday, 1927.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
School/Style:Cupid and Psyche
Medium:Mostly pencil, laid down in vellum book. Bound.

Associated People


Height:409 mm
Width:307 mm