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Penelope: C.3-1922

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Object information

Current Location: In storage




Maker: Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.
Painter: Faulkner, Kate
Designer: Burne-Jones, Edward (After)




Circular tile. Buff earthenware, slip-coated, glazed and painted in blue, yellow, sage green, flesh-pink and black enamel colours. A head and shoulders painted portrait of a woman, drawn in black, set on a deep blue ground. She wears a turban-style head-dress, which unwinds to fall over her right shoulder conceals most of her light brown hair, and a sage green bodice, and holds a needle in her raised left hand. At the top, right-hand side of the tile is a white ribbon label inscribed 'PENELOPE'. The glaze is dull, the sides are unglazed and the back of the tile is flat and rough.
The cut down 6 inch tile.


History note: Ernest Barnsley, by whom given

Legal notes

Given by Ernest Barnsley

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 15.2 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Bloomsbury ⪼ London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1922-10-01) by Barnsley, Ernest


19th Century, third quarter#
Production date: circa AD 1865


Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) adapted the design for this roundel from his series representing the heads of Chaucer and six of the author’s 'Goode Wimmen'; four of these drawings are in the collection of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It was not unusual for designs to be adapted for different commissions, and Burne-Jones also used this series in designing an embroidered frieze and stained glass roundels: ‘Penelope’ appears as the central roundel of a stained glass panel shown at the Exhibition of Stained Glass at South Kensington in 1864 and now in the V&A collection, and in another roundel held by the collection of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. According to Homeric legend, Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, was the model of domestic virtue. Tradition has it that this tile and that of Saint Cecilia (C.2-1922), were painted by the Kate Faulkner (d. 1895), who worked for William Morris (1834-96) and others as a painter and designer, as did her sister Lucy (see Robinson). Their brother Charles Faulkner (1833–92) was a partner of Morris and Burne-Jones in the firm Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co from 1861-74, though not actively involved after he returned to academic life in 1864.

The tiles were given by the Arts & Crafts furniture maker Edward Barnsley (1900-1987).

School or Style

Arts and Crafts (movement)

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels clear glaze

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: PENELOPE
  • Location: On ribbon label on front
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Title

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.3-1922
Primary reference Number: 15390
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 6 August 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Penelope" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-18 00:32:33

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{{cite web|url= |title=Penelope |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-18 00:32:33|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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