By descent to the sitter Margaret Mackail, nee Burne-Jones (1866-1953);
To her daughter, Angela Margaret Thirkell, nee Mackail (1890-1961);
To her son, Lancelot Thirkell and thence by descent
'Margaret is very difficult to know. She is still almost as shy as she was a child... I hope you could see her beauty through the veil of years. The wonderful eyes are almost unchanged.' GRAHAM ROBERTSON, 1934
Margaret (1866-1953) was Edward and Georgiana Burne-Jones' only daughter, her father's 'dear companion' and most adored muse. With a delicate beauty resembling his other models, she suited several of Burne-Jones' pictures. She was cast in the central role as Perrault's sleeping princess in the Briar Rose series (Buscot Park, Oxfordshire) as one of the angelic girls in The Golden Stairs of 1872-1880 (Tate) and as a vestal in Flamma Vestalis of 1886 (sold in these rooms, 19 November 1969, lot 160). In these pictures Burne-Jones sought to protect the purity and youth of his daughter and to celebrate his deep paternal love for her. The series of portraits that he painted throughout her life, perhaps serve a similar purpose.
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