A relative latecomer to the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Burne-Jones studied at Oxford where he first discovered the movement which, in 1856, prompted him to seek out Rossetti, by whom his style was influenced; however, the Pre-Raphaelite group had begun to wane four years earlier. Burne-Jones was impacted by classical and Renaissance art during visits to Italy in 1859 and 1862 and, although his primary themes deal with romance, chivalry, courtly love, the pursuit of beauty and battles between good and evil, his painting style has Renaissance features. However, Burne-Jones' painting has a mysterious and distinctly detached quality unique to his work.
As a partner in Morris and Company with his friend William Morris, Burne-Jones designed stained glass, tapestries and tiles which appear as decorative elements in his increasingly stylized paintings of the same period. Beginning in 1865, his work became more reminiscent of the High Renaissance painters, taking on a decidedly formal and decorative style.
Although he often worked on paintings for several years, Burne-Jones was both prolific and, during a forty year career, was sought after for commissions, producing numerous large paintings, stained glass designs and manuscript illustrations respected both in England and in Europe.