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Caricature - 'Unpainted Masterpieces' (Self-Portrait)

Caricature - 'Unpainted Masterpieces' (Self-Portrait), 1891 - 1895

Pen and ink over pencil on notepaper.
176mm x 107mm
Unpainted Masterpieces
Purchased, 1980.

Accession Number:



Self-portrait, in caricature, of the artist seated amidst an array of blank canvases.


Exhibition History

1986-87 Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome
1993 Tate Gallery, London
1998-99 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery; Musee d'Orsay, Paris


Elisa Korb with John Christian and Tessa Sidey.Hidden Burne-Jones, Works on paper by Edward Burne-Jones from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Dan Giles, Ltd., London: 2007. p. 64, B41.

Research Information:

Self-caricatures abound in Burne-Jones's letters and were often used as a way to jolly himself out of a dark mood; many show him in comic despair. 'Unpainted Masterpieces' reflects the feeling expressed to Charles Eliot Norton in 1880 that 'my rooms are so full of work...[and] I have begun so much that if I live to be as old as the oldest inhabitant of Fulham I shall never complete it.' By the 1890s that feeling had grown into genuine concern that 'I don't feel that I have the time before me that I used to, and it won't do to put by anything I am about for fear I shouldn't have the chance of taking it up again.'