This is a preparatory study for 'The Finding of Medusa' from 'The Perseus Series', a cycle commissioned in 1875 by Arthur Balfour for the music room of his London house at 4 Carlton Gardens. The subject comes from 'The Doom of King Acrisius', a poem by William Morris. This study shows Perseus about to slay the Gorgon Medusa. He looks into a mirror to avoid her fatal gaze.This study of Perseus in armour was specifically designed for 'The Finding of Medusa' for the Perseus Series (Series I in the Stattsgalerie, Stuttgart; Series II in the Southampton City Art Gallery), as well as two compositional studies (both in New York: one in the Pierpont Morgan Library, the other in a Private Collection). Burne-Jones made two finished full length studies of Perseus in armour for 'The Finding of Medusa', this one in Birmingham's collections, and a similar study (although not used) now in the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge. An additional full length study of Perseus in armour exists, used for 'Perseus & Atlas' (now in a Private Collection; see Phillips,18 April 1988, Lot 103). Many studies exist for various armour-plated body parts for the series, in collections at the Courtauld Institute, London (head & helmet), Art Institute of Chicago (study for 'Doom Fulfilled'), and the Paul Mellon Foundation (armour studies). The most comprehensive catalogue of all things related to the 'Perseus Series' is the Kurt Locher publication for the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart: 'Der Perseus Zyklus von Edward Burne-Jones'.

  • Presented by an anonymous donor, 1898.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
EB.J. 1881/ Study of armour/ for the fourth/ picture in the/ series of/ PERSEUS
Signature and date bottom right Inscribed - Ink. in the artist's own hand


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
The Decorative Art of Burne-Jones & Morris
26 Midlands Federation of Arts 1957 - 1957
British Art
114 Museum of Art, Tokyo 1967 - 1967
British Art
44 (p. 15) Karl Ernst Osthaus Museum, Hagen, Germany 1968-09-30 - 1968-11-01
British Nineteenth Century Drawings and Watercolours from the Birmingham Collection
7 Museum of Art of the Socialist Republic of Romania, Bucharest 1982-12- 08 - 1983-01-02
7 National Gallery of Art, Athens 1983-01-12 - 1983-03-06
7 National Gallery, Budapest 1983-03-17 - 1983-05-08
Burne-Jones: dal Preraffaelismo al Simbolismo
77 Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome 1986-10-07 - 1987-01-03
Pre-Raphaelite Drawings
- BMAG G19 1989-01 - -
British Watercolours from Birmingham
99 (repro) Museum of Art, Tokyo 1991 - 1992
99 (repro) Bankside Gallery, London (Royal Watercolour Society) 1992 - 1992
99 (repro) Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 1992 - 1992
Pre-Raphaelite Sculpture: Nature and Imagination in British Sculpture
8 (repro) Matthieson Gallery, London 1992-03-01 - 1992-05-01


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
A E Whitley 1939 Bemrose & Sons Ltd, Derby p. 100
Der Perseus Zyklus von Edward Burne-Jones
Kurt Locher 1973 Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart pl. 65
English Drawings
Phillips 18 April 1988 Phillips p. 70
Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer
John Christian, Stephen Wildman 1998 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York p. 226 (repro)
Hidden Burne-Jones Works on paper by Edward Burne-Jones from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
Elisa Korb, Tessa Sidey 2007 Dan Giles, Ltd., London p. 77

Associated places

Name Type
Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (Perseus Series 1) Associated with
Southampton City Art Gallery (Perseus Series 2) Associated with

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