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The Sleeping Beauty

Photo credit: Manchester Art Gallery

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Princess Beauty was cursed to sleep for a hundred years. She was awakened with a kiss by a handsome prince who had fought through a jungle of briars to rescue her. This small watercolour was conceived as a single work along with two series of murals on the subject. It was painted on vellum as a precious, personal object for the porcelain collector Murray Marks (1840–1918) and shows Burne-Jones’ love of medieval manuscripts. The image of Beauty is sensual and voluptuous, probably inspired by Jones’ love affair with the Greek sculptress Maria Zambaco. In later works she is modelled on his daughter Margaret, suggesting the sleep of innocence before adulthood.

Manchester Art Gallery



The Sleeping Beauty




watercolour, bodycolour, and gold paint on vellum


H 25.9 x W 36 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by James Thomas Blair, 1917

Work type



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Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M2 3JL England

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