Dorigen of Bretaigne Longing for the Safe Return of Her HusbandArtist(s)Edward Burne-JonesObject Creation Datecirca 1870Medium & Supportgraphite on off-white wove paperDimensions
14 3/4 in. x 19 15/16 in. ( 37.5 cm x 50.7 cm )Credit LineMuseum PurchaseLabel copy
Dorigen of Bretaigne Longing for the Safe Return of Her Husband
Museum purchase, 1966/2.3
The story of Dorigen of Bretaigne comes from “The Franklin’s Tale” in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The young wife is consumed by fear that her husband, Arvigus, will meet his death on the rocky coast of Brittany outside her window. Courted by Aurelius, who loves her, Dorigen agrees to become Aurelius’s lover if he can remove the rocks. With the help of a magician whose spell submerges the rocks in the form of a particularly high tide, Aurelius comes to claim Dorigen only to find that Arvigus has safely returned. The conventions of chivalry triumph: Aurelius withdraws and Dorigen and her husband are reunited.
Burne-Jones was a major figure in the late nineteenth-century Aesthetic movement that championed art for art’s sake in both fine and decorative arts. He also reflected his contemporaries’ interest in early Italian art and fascination with medieval art. This image is a preparatory drawing for a watercolor of the same subject now in the holdings of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
(6/28/10)Primary Object ClassificationDrawingCollection AreaWesternRights
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