The Prioress' Tale, 1865-98Oil 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.