Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Adam and Eve (Labour: Whan Adam Delved and Eve Span, Who Was Then the Gentleman?)

Artist:
After Sir Edward Burne-Jones (British, Birmingham 1833–1898 Fulham)
Artist:
Carl Hentschel (British, active 1890s)
Date:
1895 or later
Medium:
Photorelief reproduction of a woodcut
Dimensions:
Image: 13 1/4 × 11 3/8 in. (33.7 × 28.9 cm) Sheet: 21 3/8 × 16 3/4 in. (54.3 × 42.5 cm) Frame: 24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1921
Accession Number:
21.14.12
Not on view
Burne-Jones designed this composition to serve as a woodcut frontispiece for A Dream of John Ball (1888)—a socialist novel set during the English Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, written by his friend William Morris. In that context, the image of earth’s first family appears with a medieval couplet: "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?" The image was reconstituted as Labour for the Daily Chronicle in 1895, about the time this untitled photo-relief was created. Without text, the elegiac image sheds any obvious political meaning. Burne-Jones did not share Morris’s socialism, and the difference often tested their friendship.
Signature: below image lower right: "Edward Burne-Jones"; within image lower right: "C. Hentschel sc."
Oklahoma City Museum of Art. "Artist as Narrator: Nineteenth Century Narrative Art in England and France," September 8, 2005–November 27, 2005.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 29, 2014–July 14, 2014.

Julian Hartnoll, John Christian, Christopher Newall The Reproductive Engravings after Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. 1988, pp. 6-7 (Preface), ill.

Gregory R. Suriano The Pre-Raphaelite Illustrators: The Published Graphic Art of the English Pre-Raphaelites and Their Associates. Oak Knoll Press, 2000, pp. 74-75.



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