Thursday, January 22, 2015

Art Thursday: Beauty and the Beast by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones

Time for Art Thursday! Today I have an offering from fairy tale favorite Edward Burne-Jones. He is best known for his Sleeping Beauties, but he collaborated with Willliam Morris to make these tiles for Beauty and the Beast. I found these on and went searching for more since the images don't entirely match the one above I found on the William Morris Gallery site. I shared some Cinderella decorative tiles several years ago that I saw in person at the Huntington Museum--and took my own pictures--but we are limited to watermarked images here.

From the William Morris Gallery:

Morris’s friend, Edward Burne-Jones, designed these tiles to go above a bedroom fireplace in the Surrey home of watercolourist Miles Birket Foster. They tell the story of Beauty and the Beast or, as it says on the scroll beneath the scenes: ‘How a Prince who by enchantment was under the form of a beast became a man again by the love of a certain maiden.’ Burne-Jones decided to make the Beast a bear when he saw a sketch by his friend, the architect Philip Webb, of a bear in London zoo.

The tiles were a collaborative effort: Morris designed the blue-and-white ‘swan’ tiles that form the borders, and Lucy Faulkner, sister of one of Morris’s business partners, did the painting. Burne-Jones also designed tiles illustrating Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella for other bedrooms in Birket Foster’s house (now in the V&A in London, and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool).

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