The Red Bed with Holiday's “Sleeping Beauty”. 1866 Oil with gilding on wood. Dimensions unknown. Collection of The Higgins Museum and Gallery, Bedford [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Holiday painted this scene of the Prince about to waken Sleeping Beauty. on the headboard of William Burges’s own The Red Bed of 1865-67. The bed was initially in Burges’s bedroom at 15 Buckingham Street, the Strand, before being moved in 1878 to Tower House, 29 Melbury Road in Holland Park when Burges relocated into this house that he had designed for himself. This was the bed in which Burges died.

Holiday has treated the subject in an erotic fashion as compared to the rather chaste versions by his friend Edward Burne-Jones. Burne-Jones had first portrayed the story of Sleeping Beauty in 1864 in a tile panel carried out as part of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.'s decoration of Myles Birket Foster's house, The Hill, Witley, in Surrey. Both the work Holiday and Burne-Jones show their affiliation with the early Aesthetic movement. Holiday’s composition apparently follows closely a marginal illustration opposite the poem “The Day Dream” in Burges’ own illuminated copy of Alfred Tennyson’s Poems, 5th edition, published in 1848 (Crook, Burges, 326).

Links to Related Material


Crook, J. Mordaunt. William Burges and the High Victorian Dream. London: John Murray, 1981.

Created 14 January 2023

Last modified 16 April 2023