The Beguiling of Merlin
|The Beguiling of Merlin|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||186 cm × 111 cm (73 in × 44 in)|
|Location||Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Merseyside|
The painting depicts a scene from the Arthurian legend about the infatuation of Merlin with the Lady of the Lake, Nimue. Merlin is shown trapped, helpless in a hawthorn bush as Nimue reads from a book of spells.
The work was commissioned from Burne-Jones by Frederick Richards Leyland, a Liverpool ship-owner and art-collector, in the late 1860s. After a false start blamed on "poor materials", Burne-Jones began work on the painting proper in 1873, finishing the body of the work by the end of 1874; however, the painting was not first exhibited until 1877 at the opening exhibition of the Grosvenor Gallery in London.
The painting features on the covers of the books Possession: A Romance (1990), by A. S. Byatt, and Fiona MacCarthy's biography of Burne-Jones, The Last Pre-Raphaelite (2011). The painting also plays a significant role in the 1991 novel King Solomon's Carpet by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine.
- Artwork of the Month - January 2003 - The Beguiling of Merlin, by Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898) at Liverpoolmuseums.org.uk.
- Frederick Richards Leyland, 1832-1892 Archived 2007-11-03 at the Wayback Machine at the Center for Whistler Studies.
- Hill, Rosemary (25 August 2011). "The Last Pre-Raphaelite by Fiona MacCarthy". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- Wildman, S (1998). Edward Burne-Jones, Victorian artist-dreamer. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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