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Pygmalion and the Image - Study for 'Pygmalion contemplating the Image' (The Hand Refrains)

Pygmalion and the Image - Study for 'Pygmalion contemplating the Image' (The Hand Refrains), 1867

Pencil on tracing paper.
117mm x 89mm
Bequest of J R Holliday, 1927.

Accession Number:



Pygmalion is looking at his sculptural creation.


Exhibition History

2004-05 Laing Art Gallery


A E Whitley. Catalogue of Drawings. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: 1939. p. 90.
Stephen Wildman. Visions of Love and Life. Art Services International: 1995. p. 304; fig. 95.
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. 78, B567.

Research Information:

The overall composition of this prepatory sketch and the two later oils are basically the same, with a few minor differences. The first is the vase to the left of Pygmalion's hand, which does not appear in either oil version. Also, the sculpture has a sprig of myrtle or laurel in her hands, which Burne-Jones has omitted from its oil counterparts. Lastly, this study lacks a fountain seen through the window in the centre of the drawing, and the circular pattern of the glass is continued throughout the window, rather than just comprising a third of the window panes as in the paintings.