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Cupid and Psyche - Two Sketches for 'Psyche and her Sister', and 'Pan and Psyche'

Cupid and Psyche - Two Sketches for 'Psyche and her Sister', and 'Pan and Psyche', 1865

Pencil on cream-toned paper.
116mm x 170mm
Bequest of J R Holliday, 1927.

Accession Number:



Two studies on one sheet. Left portion depicts Psyche on the left, descending stairs, greeting her second sister. Right portion shows Psyche kneeling before the god Pan.



A E Whitley. Catalogue of Drawings. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: 1939. p. 84.
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. 66, B111.

Research Information:

This is one of 86 studies for illustrations to 'The Story of Cupid and Psyche' made to accompany the poem in William Morris' 'The Earthly Paradise'. The right portion of this study depicts 'Pan and Psyche', the first sketch Burne-Jones does of this subject, which later becomes two major full-scale paintings. In both oils (1869, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; 1872, Private Collection), Psyche is shown nude, but the compositions are identical to this preliminary drawing. Generally, scholars, such as Bill Waters and John Christian feel that Burne-Jones based his 'Pan and Psyche' on Piero di Cosimo's 'Death of Procris', which the National Gallery acquired in 1862.