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Sketchbook - Byzantine and Romanesque Decoration

Sketchbook - Byzantine and Romanesque Decoration, 1887 - 1894

Pencil with some watercolour and coloured pencils in bound Roberson & Co. sketchbook; 109 numbered pages.
279mm x 227mm
For full inscription, please see Research Information.
Presented by Mrs Angela Thirkell, 1952.

Accession Number:



One-hundred and ten (110) sketches of medieval and Byzantine decoration, costume, armour, etc., made in connection with studies for the 'Holy Grail' tapestries for Morris & Co.


Exhibition History

1975-76 Hayward Gallery, London; Southampton Art Gallery; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
1984 Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester
1992 Guernsey Museum & Art Gallery, St. Peter Port
2007-08 Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery; Leighton House Museum, London


Helen Proctor. The Holy Grail Tapestries: Designed by Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and J H Dearle for Morris & Co.. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: 1997. 36.
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. 81, B693.

Research Information:

Some designs were used in 'Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon' (1881-98; Museo del Arte, Ponce, Puerto Rico) and for the mosaic murals for St. Paul's Within-the-Walls, Rome (1886-90), showing heavy use of the Byzantine and Romanesque style.
The full inscription is: '54/ everything in fairer key than intended/ amber varnish paint is turpentine throughout-then when quite dry mix final glaze colouring with amber varnish/ and use sparingly in the lights, if at all, freely in the darks- to a teaspoon full of varnish/ put really twice as much spirit of turpentine, and a teaspoon fresh of linseed oil to keep it from/ drying too quickly-mix all the glaze colours with a (blocked out) drop of this on the palette-it/ will seem to varnish a big picture- keep also a little bit to dip the brush in now &/ then/ Linseed Oil-can be kept open doors always with a hole in the cork, and the oil covered with a little water/ changed every 2 months-this refines it & revives the carbon (in Burne-Jones's hand)/ Studies from the Antique by Edward Burne-Jones Given by his daughter margaret to his granddaughter Angela' *