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An Idyll

An Idyll, 1862

Watercolour, bodycolour, gum arabic, scraping on paper stretched on canvas.
295mm x 277mm
Presented by Mrs G F Watts, 1924.

Accession Number:



Young lovers, seated on grass, as they gently kiss.


Exhibition History

1898-99 New Gallery, London
1933 Tate Gallery
1934 Royal Academy of Arts
1936 Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1972 Petit Palace, Paris
1975-76 Hayward Gallery, London; Southampton City Art Gallery; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
1986 Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome
2005-06 Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery; Villa Stuck, Munich; Ben Uri Museum, London
2007-08 Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery; Leighton House Museum, London


Malcolm Bell. Edward Burne-Jones: A Record and Review. George Bell & Sons, London: 1892. p.38.
Fortunee de Lisle. Burne-Jones. Methuen, London: 1904. p. 67.
A E Whitley. Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Paintings. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: 1930. p. 36.
Martin Harrison and Bill Waters. Burne-Jones. Barrie & Jenkins, London: 1973. pp. 58, 66.
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. 74, B442.

Research Information:

One of the first of many such watercolours of this early period, where the influence of Giorgione is evident in the landscape and the enigmatic subject matter. This painting can also been viewed as an early Aesthetic work with its harmonisation of colours and lack of a narrative element, seeming to just be a beautiful image and nothing more - art for it's own sake. There is a question as to whether it was painted before or after Burne-Jones's trip to Venice in the summer of 1862.