This painting, inspired by Chaucer’s The Romaunt of the Rose
shows the god of love giving help to a pilgrim on his quest. It was the last major work that Burne-Jones completed before his death in 1898, and was dedicated to the poet Algernon Swimburne, Burne-Jones’ close friend. The depiction of the god of love as an archangel figure comes directly from Chaucer’s work, as does the flock of birds above Love’s head, and his crown of ‘roses rede’.
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
Love and the Pilgrim
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 157.5 x 304.8 cm Tate. Presented by the Art Fund 1942 Photo: © Tate 2018
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.