This figure of a mourner, holding the feet of the martyred St Dorothea, was drawn in about 1861. Theophilus was a lawyer and a pagan, who converted to Christianity when he was miraculously gifted a basket of fruit, sent from heaven by St Dorothea, whereupon he, too, was martyred by Diocletian. This drawing is in red chalk, which Burne-Jones often used to sketch drapery and block out shapes for individual figures.
He wrote about it to E.R. Hughes: ‘The ancient red is a far more crimson and rosy tint than the dusty brown sticks they give us now, and I have understood always that the ancient red is exhausted and that we have fallen on evil days and can get no more of it ... I am always asking about it of every colourman I meet, in vain ... I am waiting till I can find one stick of the tint Correggio used’ (Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, 1904, vol II, p 322).