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The Prince Enters the Wood

Sir Edward Burne-Jones British

Not on view

The paintings depict the legend of Sleeping Beauty, also called Briar Rose. From left to right, they show the prince discovering rival knights; the king and courtiers; and the princess and her attendants. The figures in repose will awaken only when the hero kisses his beloved. Many of the poses blur the line between sleep and death, underscoring the stillness of their enchanted slumber. Burne-Jones linked the scenes through the repeated motif of overgrown roses. Their undulating tendrils recall the textile and wallpaper designs of his friend and collaborator William Morris. These pictures have become known as the Small Briar Rose series, to distinguish them from two larger and later painting cycles by the artist on the same subject.

The Prince Enters the Wood, Sir Edward Burne-Jones (British, Birmingham 1833–1898 Fulham), Oil on canvas

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