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The Star of Bethlehem - Study for Balthazar, the King of Nubia

The Star of Bethlehem - Study for Balthazar, the King of Nubia, 1887

Black chalk, heightened with white and gold medium.
348mm x 163mm
Presented by Alderman C F Gaunt, 1916.

Accession Number:



Full-length figure of King Nubia, with crown and spray of corn in right hand.


Exhibition History

1898-99 New Gallery, London
1899 Burlington Fine Arts Club, London
1957 Midland Area Travelling Exhibition
2005-06 Manchester City Art; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery


A E Whitley. Catalogue of Drawings. Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery: 1939. p. 101.
Stephen Wildman and John Christian. Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: 1998. fig. 142.
Nicholas Tromans. Pre-Raphaelites and Other Masters: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection. Royal Academy of Arts, London: 2003. Pl. 56f.
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. 93, B1096.

Research Information:

As a cross-reference, see W S Taylor's copy of Balthazar from Burne-Jones's watercolour of 'The Star of Bethlehem', squared up for transfer for tapestry design. Taylor drew Balthazar, as well as other heads from the original watercolour, by tracing Burne-Jones's original design, then colouring the design to contrast the king's dark skin with the pale linen hood. It should be noted, however, that Taylor did not trace from BMAG's version of 'The Star of Bethlehem', but from a second, unfinished version also done in watercolour (with gouache and gold as well) from 1887-1888, now in the collection of Lord Lloyd-Webber. At the time Taylor would have traced it, the second watercolour was in the possession of the artist's family.