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Design for painted decoration

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1855 - 1881 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Burges, William A.R.A., born 1827 - died 1881 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case 93, shelf E, box 8

William Burges began designing furniture early in his career, in the mid-1850s, and continued until his death in 1881. Generally heavy, sculptural, extensively carved, and with medieval decorations, his furniture stood out in the 19th century particularly for its unique application of painted decoration. Following a medieval fashion of design, Burges applied painted decoration to his furniture to correspond to greater painted schemes on surrounding walls and ceilings. He displayed a number of such painted pieces at the International Exhibition of 1862 in the Medieval Court. Despite receiving mixed reviews for his use of colours, decorative subjects, and carpentry at this early date, Burges’ furniture proved very popular in succeeding decades. He continued to design in this bold fusion of Pre-Raphaelitism and the Gothic Revival the duration of his career.

Physical description

Pencil and yellow watercolour design on paper. An assortment of floral, shell, bee, architectural, sun, fish, and star motifs possibly for painting on a piece of furniture.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1855 - 1881 (made)


Burges, William A.R.A., born 1827 - died 1881 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and watercolour on paper


Width: 30.3 cm, Length: 48.3 cm

Descriptive line

William Burges. Various motifs, probably for painting on furniture. Floral, shell, insect, architectural, fish, star and sun motifs. English, ca. 1855 - 1881.


Pencil; Watercolour; Paper



Subjects depicted

Fish; Columns (architectural elements); Sun; Stars; Bees (insects); Shell; Floral


Designs; Drawings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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