Edward Burne-Jones, Study of Faces, Hands and Feet

Photo courtesy of Caroline True (All rights reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
Study of Faces, Hands and Feet
Medium and support
Brown crewel on canvas
Overall height: 58.4 cm, Overall width: 45.7 cm
Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)
Catalogue Number


By the 1870s and 80s art needlework had become increasingly popular among certain ‘aesthetic’ ladies. Alongside members of her circle, including her sister, Agnes Jekyll, Frances Horner (1854–1940) was involved in the establishment of the Royal School of Needlework, for which Edward Burne-Jones produced designs. In a series of embroideries, Burne-Jones drew a composition on cloth, leaving it to Frances to embroider over his marks. In this way she became able to execute exactly what he designed, producing some enchanting fabric pictures. Notable examples are L’Amor che muove in St Andrew’s Church, Mells, and a large floral embroidery hanging over the fireplace in the Drawing Room at Mells Manor. Other smaller pieces were taken from Burne-Jones’s designs for paintings and stained glass. In these embroideries the faces and hands were left to be painted by the artist himself. The present work, which was untouched by Frances, reveals the first stage of the process.

by Devon Cox

Related catalogue items from Mells Manor

  • Castle Howard Mells Manor

    Portrait of a Man in Black with Red Hair and Lace Collar, possibly John Strangways

    English School, c.1660–70

  • Castle Howard Mells Manor

    The Virgin and Child with a Donor

    possibly Marchigian Master, c.1520–? 1530

  • Castle Howard Mells Manor

    The Resurrection

    Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano