Study of a nude male figure on hands and knees holding a shield

Study of a nude male figure on hands and knees holding a shield; for the Figure of Hercules by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt ARA (1833-1898). sanguine chalk on white paper. 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches, 39.4 x 26.7 centimetres. Exhibited: Christopher Powney and Julian Hartnoll, London, 1979, English Figure drawings, number C5.

Commentary by Hilary Morgan

The present drawing was previously related to Burne-Jones's painting St. George Fighting the Dragon (1865). It is now recognised as a study for the decorative design 'Hercules'. A photograph of the finished drawing appears in the smaller of the two Hollyer Albums exhibited here (number 87). The date and purpose of the design is unknown. The structure of the figure in the present drawing shows the more dynamic Michelangelesque qualities that Burne-Jones introduced to his drawings in the in the early 1870s.


Morgan, Hilary and Nahum, Peter. Burne-Jones, The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Century. London: Peter Nahum, 1989. Catalogue number 62.

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Last modified 5 June 2020