Study of a Woman's Head, Turned to the Left by Edward Burne-Jones, 1868. Red and black chalk on textured paper, 21.5 x 20.6 cm. Collection of Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, bequeathed by John Bryson, 1977; WA1977.32. Source: Image sheet from the Watts Gallery Compton on the occasion of its appearance in the "Pre-Raphaelite Treasures" exhibition, 8 March-12 June 2022. [Review.] Image transfer and comment by Jacqueline Banerjee. Click on the image to enlarge it.

This work is a brilliant example of Burne-Jones's experimentation with his materials. The paper he used had a prominent texture, so that running his chalk over it softly produced a slightly stippled effect. Christian Payne compares the study's appearance to that of a brass-rubbing (107). Yet the outlines are clear, indicating that he used more pressure and perhaps just the edge of the darker chalk here. The result is a wonderfully mixed effect of softness and resolution, which might just fit the purpose for which the study was intended (as yet unknown, explains Payne (alos p. 107).


Payne, Christiana, with essays by Fiona Mann and Robert Wilkes. Pre-Raphaelite Drawings & Watercolours. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2021.

Created 26 March 2022