possibly Frances Horner, after Edward Burne-Jones, Design for a tapestry inset

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
Design for a tapestry inset
after 1891
Medium and support
Watercolour on paper
Overall height: 44.5 cm, Overall width: 55 cm
possibly Frances Horner (1854-1940), after Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)
Catalogue Number


Edward Burne-Jones and Lady Frances Horner maintained a close relationship until the artist’s death in 1898. In 1883, writing to John Ruskin, Burne-Jones joked about her marriage to Sir John Horner, after all he had done for her:

But to name every one how could I remember? for instance, many a patient design went to adorning Frances’ ways . . . Sirens for her girdle, Heavens and Paradises for her prayer-books, Virtues and Vices for her necklace-boxes – ah! the folly of me from the beginning – and now in the classic words of Mr. Swiveller ‘she has gone and married a market gardener’.1

Among these ‘patient design[s]’ Burne-Jones created a series of small watercolours intended for insets in tapestries and bed boards (see MM74). Each one features an identical image of a young woman in a red robe with her right arm resting on a Grecian urn and her left reaching out to a flower. One of the small watercolours was inset into a larger tapestry which hangs above the fireplace in the Drawing Room at Mells.

by Devon Cox


  1. Edward Burne-Jones to John Ruskin, 1883, quoted in Georgiana Burne-Jones, Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, 2 vols, London: Macmillan, 1904, vol. 2, pp. 130–1; see also Stephen Wildman and John Christian, Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998, p. 243.


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