A.E. Whitley describes this image as being of Edward I and Henry VI. It is unclear as to why he identified them each as such, but this image is very likely to symbolise the Wars of the Roses, with St. George as patron of England, at the center of the two kings. Henry VI, of the Lancastrian house, was killed in the Battle of Tewksbury, leaving Edward IV, of the House of York, to claim the crown of England. The metaphor can be that whilst England fights in a civil war, Art, Science, and England itself (as represented by St. George) will always endure, as reinforced by the bottom panels which retell the story of St. George and the dragon.There remains some question, however, whether 'Rex Edwardus' is actually Edward IV of the House of York, or his great-great-great grandfather, Edward III. The heraldric banner both behind the king and on his armour, was first used by Edward III. In 1340, to strengthen his claim to the throne of France, Edward III adopted the French fleur-de-lys in the first and fourth quarter of his coat of arms, in conjunction with the three gold lions passant guardant in the other two quarters. Also, the figure appears older and in a more antique style of armour than Henry, which is an argument in favour of Edward III rather than Edward IV (also a great-great-great grandson). On the whole however, there seems to be no other reason why Edward III and Henry VI would appear together in a stained glass cartoon or window without other key figures present, particularly someone like Edward IV or another representative of the House of York. It was the death of Edward III that split the House of Plantagenent into the Houses of Lancaster and York.

  • Bequeathed by James Richardson Holliday, 1927.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
Label - Painted - figure labels. painted by the artist


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
The Decorative Art of Burne-Jones and Morris
20 Midland Area Travelling Exhibition 1957 - 1957


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. 146
The Stained Glass of William Morris & His Circle
A Charles Sewter 1975 Yale University Press, New Haven Vol. I: fig. 163
William Morris
Linda Parry 1996 Victoria & Albert Museum, London p. 111
Hidden Burne-Jones, Works on paper by Edward Burne-Jones from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
2007 Dan Giles, Ltd., London p. 90

Associated people

Name Type
King Edward I of England Depicted
King Henry VI Depicted

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