- Gallery Text
Burne-Jones’s beloved daughter, Margaret, who embodied the artist’s ideal of beauty, was the model for this painting. The Latin title refers to the Vestal Virgins of Rome, who tended the perpetual fire on the altar of the goddess Vesta. Begun before her marriage in 1888 to John William Mackail, the painting aligns Margaret with these chaste women, suggesting her innocence and purity. The painting is reminiscent of a Renaissance portrait; the sitter’s pose may have been inspired by a celebrated stone relief of Saint Cecilia attributed in the nineteenth century to the sculptor Donatello.
- Identification and Creation
Level 2, Room 2710, North Arcade
View this object's location on our interactive map
- Physical Descriptions
- Oil on canvas
- 68 x 46.4 cm (26 3/4 x 18 1/4 in.)
framed: 96.2 x 74.6 x 5.4 cm (37 7/8 x 29 3/8 x 2 1/8 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- inscription: File notes inscription on back: From collection of Sir William Richmond to whom 'twas presented by the artist in exchange for a portrait of Miss Burne-Jones which was begun in 1884 but not completed for a long time. [Back of canvas is covered with a cardboard strainer 7/94 and no inscriptions are visible, 1994.]
- Sir William B. Richmond, by descent (?); to Rear Admiral A. W. Richmond. [Scott & Fowles, New York], sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, New York, NY, 1922 [via Martin Birnbaum], bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
- THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT BY THE TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION TO THE HARVARD ART MUSEUMS.
- The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
- Publication History
New Gallery, Exhibition of the Works of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, exh. cat., New Gallery (London, England, 1898 - 1899), no. 64
Paintings and Drawings of the Pre-Raphaelites and their Circle, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1946), no. 28, p. 42
David H. Dickason, The Daring Young Men: The Story of the American Pre-Raphaelites, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN, 1953), p. 255
Martin Harrison and Bill Waters, Burne-Jones, G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY, 1973), p. 193
Penelope Fitzgerald, Edward Burne-Jones: A Biography, Michael Joseph, Ltd. (London, England, 1975), pp. 198-199
Mark Aronson, "Trial and Error: Further Notes on the Materials and Techniques of the Pre-Raphaelite Painters" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 1986), Unpublished, pp. 1-28 passim
Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 100-101, repr. as no. 63
Chikashi Kitazaki and Mina Oya, ed., Between Reality and Dreams: Nineteenth Century British and French Art from the Winthrop Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art (Ueno, 2002), pp. 198-199, cat. #58, color repr.
Phillip Prodger, Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography, exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery (London, 2018), p. 167, fig. 29
- Exhibition History
Paintings and Drawings of the Pre-Raphaelites and their Circle, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/08/1946 - 06/01/1946
Pre-Raphaelite and Early French Symbolist Art in the Fogg Collections, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/16/1973 - 02/25/1973
The Pre-Raphaelites: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/04/1980 - 07/15/1980
Between Reality and Dreams: Nineteenth Century British and French Art from the Winthrop Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 09/14/2002 - 12/08/2002
For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004
32Q: 2710 North Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
- Related Works
This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at email@example.com