The story of Psyche and Eros, with depictions by Burne-Jones and Waterhouse
'Pan and Psyche', Sir Edward Burne-Jones
Burne-Jones painted this version of Pan and Psyche after his lover, Mary Zambaco, attempted to throw herself in Regent’s Canal in an ugly and embarrassing scene. It was the breaking point of an illicit relationship that was painful for all involved. Burne-Jones had intense feelings for Mary but could not bring himself to abandon his children or his wife Georgie. Mary had grown increasingly desperate and, upon the realization that he would not leave his family, presented Ned with a sufficient amount of Laudanum to kill them both. In response to his shocked refusal, she ran to the river and he was forced to wrestle her to the ground.
It is an ugly thing to write about. Even though over a hundred years have passed, I feel uncomfortable blogging about something so personal and painful. Yet, it is interesting to see how Burne-Jones depicted Mary after their affair ended.
'Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus' (John William Waterhouse. Full post at preraphaelitesisterhood.com