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Pelican in her Piety (c.1880)
This design is a coloured pastel finished drawing from the Morris & Co. East window of St. Martin's Church, Brampton, Cumbria, 1880-1881. The window's at Brampton are one of Morris & Co's masterpieces. After the windows were complete, Burne-Jones used coloured chalks to transform his design into this highly finished work.
The pelican feeding its young with drops of blood from its breast is a Christian emblem for the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The nest sits on top of a highly stylised tree with sinuous curves. In the 20th century, the art historian Nikolaus Pevsner published this design as a precursor of Art Nouveau.