Sidonia von Bork is the title character of Wilhelm Meinhold’s novel Sidonia the Scorceress
, the fictionalised tale of a Pomeranian woman executed for witchcraft in 1620. Meinhold’s story was translated into English by Lady Wilde in 1849, and was a popular work among members of the Pre-Raphelite Brotherhood. Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s influence on the young Burne-Jones is particularly evident in this and its partner painting Clara von Bork 1560
- here, Burne-Jones used Rossetti’s model and mistress Fanny Cornforth as his model for Sidonia. The dress she wears is based on a portrait of the Renaissance art collector Isabella d’Este by Guilo Romano.
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
Sidonia von Bork 1560
Date of work
Original: Watercolour and gouache on paper 33.3 x 17.1 cm Tate. Bequeathed by W. Graham Robertson 1948 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.