The Campagna - Mrs Morris in Italy, c 1873
Pencil; inscribed 'Mrs ..... in Italy'; also inscribed 'No. 1 The Campagna'.
6.75 x 4.25 inches
Maria Zambaco, and thence by descent to her great niece Mrs Wyndham Milligan;
Sotheby's Belgravia, 29 June 1976;
Private Collection, UK
Throughout his life, Burne-Jones’s fey sense of humour found an outlet in caricatures, a counterpoint to the seriousness of his studio work. His wife Georgiana was rather high-minded, and Graham Robertson believed that ‘EB-J’s surroundings were so extremely correct and proper that I think he had to break out occasionally’ (Kerrison Preston, ed., Letters from Graham Robertson, 1953, p. 491). The caricatures, sketched in the company of friends or in letters to them, often poke fun at bigness, in parody of Rubens. Burne-Jones was a thin man, but his friend William Morris was inclined to fat; here, Burne-Jones imagines Jane Morris as a plump baby in the the Roman campagna, during a trip they all took together in 1873. Underlying the humour was gentle concern for his friends’ health.