This is the first painting in The Legend of Briar Rose
series by Burne-Jones. It describes the moment when the hero enters the forest of thorns, and finds several knights in an enchanted sleep. Beneath the original panel, William Morris’s poem was inscribed to narrate the action: The fateful slumber floats and flows
About the tangle of the rose;
But lo! The fated hand and heart
To rend the slumberous curse apart!
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
The Briar Wood
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.