A page from the facsimile edition of Burne-Jones' Flower Book, one of 38 watercolour designs reproduced by Henri Piazza et Cie, for the Fine Art Society, London in 1905.'Arbor Tristis' literally means 'Tree of Gloom' and refers to mistletoe (Viscom album). Mistletoe, usually a symbol of the joyful Christmas season, has common names which denote the sadness of Lent: 'Wood of the Cross', 'Herbe de la Croi', and 'Holy Wood'. There is no comparable image to 'Arbor Tristis' in Burne-Jones's oeuvre, although he did paint a completely unrelated subject with a similar title, 'Tree of Forgiveness' (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Merseyside, 1882).

  • Purchased, 1953.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
The foot of the Cross.
Label - Printed - description of the scene, written by the artist. printed by the artist, herein a facsimile


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
The Flower Book.
Edward Burne-Jones 1994 Taschen Pl. XXVIII
Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer
John Christian, Stephen Wildman 1998 Metropolitan Museum of Art p. 286; pl. 135c
Hidden Burne-Jones, Works on paper by Edward Burne-Jones from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
2007 Dan Giles, Ltd., London p. 73

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