skip to content skip to navigation skip to search

Art and Antiques

  « back


Troy Triptych - Helen Captive in Burning Troy

Troy Triptych - Helen Captive in Burning Troy, 1870 - 1872

Watercolour and bodycolour.
1035mm x 368mm
Purchased through the Art Gallery Purchase Fund, 1898.

Accession Number:



An unfinished sketch showing a full-length female figure in the centre surrounded by other captives and framed against burning Troy in the backgound.


Exhibition History

1975-76 Hayward Gallery, London; Southampton City Art Gallery; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
1982 Banque Bruxelles Lambert, Brussels
1986-87 Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome
1987 Midlands Art Federation


A E Whitley. Catalogue of Drawings. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: 1930. p. 28.
Martin Harrison and Bill Waters. Burne-Jones. Barrie & Jenkins, London: 1973. fig. 45.
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. 94, B1113.

Research Information:

This unfinished work, a prepatory study for the Story of Troy, is particularly interesting technically, as it reveals the artist's methods. According to Burne-Jones's studio assistant, T M Rooke, a red ground was first laid on the paper, over which a free sketch in bodycolour was worked on in Chinese white and raw umber. The warm ground colour then shines through the pale modelling of the figures. The style shows the increased influence of Renaissance Masters such as Michaelangelo and Raphael, on the work of Burne-Jones.

A study for the figure of Helen is currently in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.