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An image of The fight: St George kills the dragon VI by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Sir Edward Burne-Jones

(England 28 Aug 1833 – 17 Jun 1898)

The fight: St George kills the dragon VI
Other titles:
The fight: St George killing the dragon VI
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

105.4 x 130.8 cm stretcher; 166.0 x 175.6 x 19.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l., black oil "EB-J / 1864".
Gift of Arthur Moon KC in memory of his mother, Emma, born in Sydney in 1860, the daughter of John de Villers Lamb 1950
Accession number
19th c European art
Further information

More commonly an excuse for high drama and dynamic design, the legend of St George inspired in Edward Burne-Jones a typically lyrical response. This image presents the viewer with something akin to a dream. The knight is hardy enough, dispatching his beastly (but undernourished) enemy with assurance; yet this St George is a creature of the mind. The blurry 'sfumato' of the forms - Burne-Jones had yet to perfect his brittle manner - and the elegance of the poses encourage reverie, not alarm. Burne-Jones was the least ideological of the Pre-Raphaelites, yet the most enduring, always keeping faith with a moonlit world of bloodless damsels and epicene saints. Henry James called the Burne-Jones type 'pale, sickly and wan'. No progressive, the English artist loathed the impressionists, preferring their symbolist contemporaries, whom he admired and greatly influenced.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

Provenance (5)

Myles Birket Foster, 1864-1894, Surrey/England, Series commissioned in 1864 for the dining-room of Foster's house at 'The Hill' at Witley, Surrey. Series sold at Birket Foster's sale 1894 for 2,100 gns.

C. Sidney Goldmann, 1898, England, In the collection of C. Sidney Goldmann by 1898, with some others of the series.

Christie's London, 26 Apr 1902, London/England, Purchased by Agnew's for Sir Ernest Moon

Sir Ernest Moon, 26 Apr 1902-1930, Oxfordshire/England, Braziers park, Ipsden, Oxfordshire

Arthur Moon, KC, 1930-1950, England, Gift of Arthur Moon 1950

Bibliography (19)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 27 (colour illus.).

Russell Ash, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, London, 1993, back page (colour illus.).

M. Bell, Burne-Jones, 1898, 36.

Lady Georgiana Burne-Jones, Catalogue of Drawings, 'Memorials of E B-J', Birmingham, 1939, 296-7.

John Christian, Art Quarterly, 'Early German Sources for Pre-Raphaelite Designs', 1973, 78. 29, 30

Patricia Crawford, History and legend in some selected paintings at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1980, 14 (illus.).

F. de Lisle, Burne-Jones, 1904, 75-77.

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 26 (illus.), 27.

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 44.

Matthias Frehner, Edward Burne-Jones: The earthly paradise, 'St George and the dragon 1865-67', pg.51-65, Stuttgart, 2009, 61, 62 (colour illus.). fig.20, illustrated in reference to

Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, (Burne-Jones), Rome, 1986. 15

Martin Harrison and Bill Waters, Burne-Jones, New York, 1973, 89.

Marcus B. Huish, The Art Annual, London, 1890, 26.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 38 (colour illus.).

Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 60 (illus.). 305

McLean's Gallery, (MacLean's Gallery Exhibition), London, 1895. contains verse by William Morris for each of the series

Jan Reynolds, Birket Foster, London, 1984, 97-99, 176. Appendix no. 8 including a photograph of the dining room at 'The Hill' with the painting in situ in another frame.

Angus Trumble (Curator), Love and Death: art in the age of Queen Victoria, Adelaide, 2001-2002, 158, 159 (colour illus.).

Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, Oct 1962.

Exhibition history (11)

Unknown, MacLean's Gallery, McLean's Gallery, London, 1895–1895

Unknown, Gooden's Gallery, Gooden's Gallery, England, Jan 1896–Jan 1896

VII Internationale Kunstausstellung, Munich, Exhibition Venue Unknown, Aug 1897–Aug 1897

Unknown, New Gallery Winter Exhibition 1898-9, New Gallery, London, Winter 1898–1899

Purchases and Acquisitions for 1950, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Feb 1951–22 Apr 1951

Old Masters from AGNSW and NGV, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1979–1979

European masters and Australian painting from Australian collections:

Burne-Jones, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, 1986–1986

Burne-Jones and his followers, Tokyo Shimbun Japan, Japan, 1987–1987

Love and death: art in the age of Queen Victoria:

Edward Burne Jones: