Photograph and caption by Robert Freidus. Commentary by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]
Monument to Charles Howard and his wife, Mary by Joseph Edward Boehm, R. A. Designed by Edward Burne-Jones. Bronze. Lanercost Priory Cumberland.
The monument memorializes Charles Howard and his wife Mary (d. 1843), the parents of Burne-Jones's patron, George Howard,. When the elder Howard died in 1879, his son commissionned both this memorial and a complex stained glass window designed by Burne-Jones and manufactured by William Morris and Company, the studies of which are in the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow (see Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer, pp. 281-82.
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The Nativity. Designed by Burne-Jones and executed by Boehm. The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, has a preparatory drawing for this panel in watercolor, bodycolor, and pastel (no. 667a). Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer, points out “The composition is restrained and elegaic, appropriate to the fact hat Mary had died in giving birth to her son in 1843” (273).
Some Northern Renaissance paintings of the nativity and the adoration depict the infant Christ in the same pose as traditionally appears in the deposition — that is, when the dead Christ is either lowered from the cross or into his tomb. Erwin Panofsky has pointed out that artists used the similar poses of the infant and the dead Christ to make the representation of the newborn child function as a type — a divinely intended prefiguration — of Jesus's fate (I, 261). The Entombment of Christ (below) might have similar relation to the pose of the infant Christ, and since in both Mary holds her Son in such a way that His body is slightly bent and legs extended.
Panofsky, Erwin. Early Netherlandish Painting, Its Origins and Character. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1953.
Pevsner, Nikolaus. Cumberland and Westmorland. London: Penguin, 1988.
Wildman, Stephen, and John Christian. Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998.
Last modified 26 May 2011