Burne-Jones's accounts for early 1862 list two designs for 'Theseus' tiles, of which this is the only one known, but may have been executed as early as 1861. It shows a four five-inch tile format for the narrative scene and a medievel-style interpretation of the subject matter, with Theseus dressed in a tunic of Late Gothic damask or brocade and the Minotaur peering, gargoyle-like, round the labyrinth wall. It derives not from ancient mythology, but from Chaucer's retelling of the Greek story in his 'Legend of Good Women', which explains its medieval character.

  • 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 - Handwritten 1861 labels. written in the artist's hand


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Burne Jones: The Paintings, Graphic & Decorative Work
69 Hayward Gallery, London 1975-11-05 - 1976-01-04
69 Southampton City Art Gallery 1976-01-24 - 1976-02-22
69 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 1976-03-10 - 1976-04-11
Pre-Raphaelite Art from Birmingham
10 Hong Kong Museum of Art 1984-10-19 - 1984-12-02
Pre-Raphaelite Drawings
- BMAG G19 1989-01 - -
Morris & Co Tiles
18 William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow 1996-09-14 - 1997-01-05


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. 149
Bill Waters, Martin Harrison 1973 Barrie & Jenkins, London fig. 86
'Theseus & Ariadne: A Newly Discovered Burne-Jones'
John Christian, Richard Dorment 1975 Burlington Magazine, CXVII, September 1975 p. 596; fig. 32
William Morris Tiles
Hilary Myers, Richard Myers 1996 Richard Dennis, Somerset p. 20; fig. 34
Hidden Burne-Jones, Works on paper by Edward Burne-Jones from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
2007 Dan Giles, Ltd., London p. 94

Associated people

Name Type
William Morris Associated with
Ovid Author

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