In this Pre-Raphaelite painting Edward Burne-Jones was partly inspired by Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem The Beggar Maid. The African king Cophetua sits at the feet of a beggar woman, expressing his love for her.
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid
293.4 x 135.9 cm
Oil on canvas
Date of work
An English painter, Sir Edward Burne-Jones was born in Birmingham and educated at Oxford, where he met his lifelong friend William Morris. He studied briefly under Dante Gabriel Rossetti but soon outgrew his influence despite retaining great respect for him. Burne-Jones later visited Italy with John Ruskin, seeing works by Botticelli and Mantegna which had a profound influence on him. From 1878, Burne-Jones gained a European reputation and influenced both continental Symbolism and Art Nouveau.