Edward Burne-Jones, Design embroidered on bed board

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
Design embroidered on bed board
Medium and support
Overall height: 24 cm, Overall width: 30 cm
Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)
Catalogue Number


The unfinished embroidery on the bed board takes its design from a Burne-Jones watercolour of a female figure reclining with her left arm resting on a vase while she reaches out to a flower with her right arm.1 An almost identical figure by Burne-Jones, which retains a painted face and arms, is inset in a large tapestry worked by Frances Horner, hanging above the fireplace in the Drawing Room at Mells.

In an undated letter (probably around 1891) from Burne-Jones to Frances Horner, he refers to a drawing that may be the present design:

Dearest Frances

Rooke tells me you want little figures in the spaces left in his bed quilt thing he has copied for you – so I have done a sort of Flora, amended from the original which may perhaps do – but it is only a guide for the outline & I dont know what colour the rest is – so dont bother about the colour, make it what you like that will go with the rest – its the first work I have done & I am still as weak as can be, but perhaps it is good enough for the purpose . . . I wonder if the figure will do – Rooke drew the space out but on such nasty coloured paper that it was discouraging to work but I dare say it will do my dear . . .2

by Devon Cox


  1. A similar drawing embroidered by Frances Horner was recently with the London art dealer H. Blairman & Sons: (accessed 15 June 2020).

  2. Sir Edward Burne-Jones to Frances Horner, n.d. [c.1891], Mells Manor Archive, M/04/1353.


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