Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Prioress' Tale

(click to enlarge)
Edward Burne-Jones
(British, 1833-1898)
The Prioress' Tale, 1865-98
Oil on canvas

The Prioress's Tale is a story from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. In Russel Ash's book Sir Edward Burne-Jones there is a short summary of the story and the symbolism of the flowers:
This painting tells the story of a seven year old boy whose throat was cut for singing a Christian song in a Jewish city in Asia, but miraculously continued to sing when the Virgin Mary placed grain in his mouth. He died soon afterwards and was buried as a martyr. The flower symbolism of the white lily represents purity, that of the red poppy consolation, the dwarf sunflower adoration and the wallflower fidelity in adversity. 

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