Earthly Paradise : Cupid and Psyche Fireplace Panels

Pre-Raphaelite Art Fireplace Tiles: Edward Burne-Jones and Walter Crane

. . . but he turned no more,
And when into the moonlit night he came
From out her sight he vanished like a flame
~William Morris, The Earthly Paradise

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Edward Burne-Jones Cupid and Psyche fireplace panels.

Edward Burne-Jones conceived the Cupid and Psyche Frieze for the home of his friend, George Howard. When he and Howard met in April 1865, Burne-Jones was working on woodcuts for William Morris's The Earthly Paradise, their first illuminated book project. Burne-Jones described the project very enthusiastically, so much so that when he and his wife decided to build a new home in 1868, he contracted with design firm Morris, Marshall, and Faulkner to have Burne-Jones paint a series of friezes on the theme of Cupid and Psyche.

Burne-Jones began the project enthusiastically, making use of the woodcut designs he had made for The Early Paradise. The dimensions of the paintings would not be uniform, but accommodate the shape of the dining room. After the first two paintings, though, he became involved in several other projects and the work on Cupid and Psyche was ever put off. By 1877, the Howards were still without a dining room and Burne-Jones and Howard agreed that Walter Crane would take over where Burne-Jones had left off. Walter Crane was happy to move beyond book illustrations to "fine art", but it was precisely his skill at an illustrator that moved Burne-Jones to choose him to finish the project.

The canvases taken to Crane's studio were in various stages, some nearly blank and some advanced. Crane tried to mimic the existing style on those canvases where Burne-Jones had made progress, but on the others took great liberties. Burne-Jones felt the younger man was strying too far from original concepts, so the canvases were carted back to Burne-Jones' studio and reworked again, first in collaboration with Crane and then with his assistant, Thomas Rook. They were finally completed 10 years after they were commissioned, in 1881.

These fireplace panels are based on the seventh and the eighth in the series.

Application: These tiles are a good choice for a small fireplace.

    Title: Walter Crane and Edward Burne-Jones: Cupid and Psyche

    Panels: 10 tiles in a 2 vertical panels

    Size: 4.25 inch tiles

    Thickness: 3/8 inch (1 cm)

    Availability: Can usually be shipped a week or so.


    Single panel

    Five 4.25 Inch Tiles: $580

    Two panels

    Ten 4.25 Inch Tiles: $905

    Installing and Caring for Your Tile

    These tiles are suitable for interior use on walls, backsplashes, showers, and fireplace panels. If used in a shower or behind a sink, you will want to seal the grout well. Your installer will know about this. I will send you an information sheet when I ship your tile.

    Laying out your tile before you start installing will make things go faster and lessen the drama if you want to keep to a pattern. Be sure to use unsanded grout when installing your tile. The tile is tough but sanded grout will put infinitely small scratches in your seal which will make the finish different from what you started with. This isn't as noticeable on tumbled as on ceramic tile, but can happen. You can clean your tiles with any household non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth or sponge.