This composition was begun in 1857 but not finished until four years later. The figure of the Virgin may have originally been based on Jane Morris, but the face, as finally realised, was most likely modelled on the artist's fiancée, Georgiana Macdonald. A more finished study for this figure is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The composition may have proved difficult for Burne-Jones, both compositionally and technically. The impasto is fairly thick in some place, uncharacteristic for him even at this early stage. Several areas have also been patched and reworked, particularly the Angel Gabriel.

  • 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
EBJ/1861 [in gold circle]
Monogram bottom right Handwritten 1861 Paint. In the Artist's Hand


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Exhibition of the Works of Sir Edward Burne-Jones
9 New Gallery, London 1898-12-31 - 1899-04-08
Centenary Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Bart. (1833-1898)
84 Tate Gallery, London 1933-06-14 - 1933-08-31
Burne-Jones: The Paintings, Graphic, and Decorative Work of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 1833-98
26 Hayward Gallery. London 1975-11-05 - 1976-01-04
26 Southampton Art Gallery 1976-01-24 - 1976-02-22
26 City Musuem and Art Gallery, Birmingham 1976-03-10 - 1976-04-11
Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
9 Hong Kong Museum of Art 1984-10-20 - 1984-12-02
British Watercolours from Birmingham
98, repro Tokyo Station Gallery, and Japan tour until 1991-10-20 1991-06-01 - 1991-07-07
98, repro Bankside Gallery, London 1992-01-22 - 1992-03-01
98, repro Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 1992 - 1992
Heaven on Earth: The Religion of Beauty in Late Victorian Art
3 Djanogly Art Gallery, University of Nottingham 1994-10-07 - 1994-11-27
The Decorative Art of Burne-Jones and Morris
8 Midland Area Travelling Exhibition 1957 - 1957
Hidden Burne-Jones
3 (repro. p. 18) Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery 2007-04-04 - 2007-07-01
3 (repro. p. 18) Leighton House Museum, London 2007-10-12 - 2008-01-27


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
Edward Burne-Jones
Malcolm Bell 1892 George Bell & Sons, London pp. 29, 35, 107
Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Paintings
A E Whitley 1930 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery p. 36
Otto von Schleinitz 1901 Bielefeld & Leipzig p. 16; plate 11
Hidden Burne-Jones, Works on paper by Edward Burne-Jones from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
2007 Dan Giles, Ltd., London p. 63


Richard Mills; Christie's 13.4.1908, lot 2; Agnew's; James Richardson Holliday.

Associated people

Name Type
Jane Morris Artist's model
Georgiana Burne-Jones Artist's model

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