Completed British 19th C, except portraits, Dress and Textiles, Portraits: British 19th C, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 22 Who made this chalk study of a man in a headscarf with a ring in his ear?

Topic: Artist

The recently posted online Edward Burne-Jones catalogue raisonné lists this drawing as a fake. The link to the work in the catalogue is here:

I have previously mentioned this work is not by Burne-Jones, but now there is support for this contention. Art UK has subsequently updated its record to ‘unknown artist’.

Dennis Lanigan, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The artist has been tentatively identified as ‘E. J. B. Jones’, based on the signature. The drawing has been dated to c.1883.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


The collection comments:

‘It wasn't created as a fake copy of a Burne-Jones, but its signature led to it being attributed to him. It looks like it says E B Jones, but it's not like any signature Burne-Jones ever used. If you were going to fake a signature deliberately, you'd surely make it look like the real thing. Presumably, then, the work is by someone else whose name looks like E B Jones.’

Jacinto Regalado,

It's a perfectly competent academic Orientalist work, but it need not be by a "name" artist. It certainly looks 19th century.

Scott Thomas Buckle,

To me, the drawing looks like the work of a competent student or amateur artist. It doesn't look like any works by Burne-Jones that I know of. The signature appears to read "E J B Jones", so that genuinely may be the name of the artist. An unsigned watercolour of the same subject by another hand was offered for sale at Wotton Auction Rooms on 1 May 2018 (part of lot 903). A few months later, a drawing of the same subject was offered for sale at Ewbank's on 12 September 2018 (part of lot 1589), signed 'J Astley' and dated '1883' (see attached images). These two works and the Dundee drawing all appear to based upon the same source image, probably a print. If the source image can be correctly identified, it may be possible to date the Dundee copy more accurately.

Perhaps the monogram should be read as EJP -- for Edward John Poynter. His wife Agnes was a sister of Burne-Jones's wife Georgiana (they were two of the famous Macdonald sisters). The drawing, if by Poynter, could easily have got into the collection of Burne-Jones, thus being inadvertently sold as by the latter at Christie's in 1923.

For comparison:

Barbara Bryant,

As Scott has shown, there are multiple copies of the same head, which might exist as a print, suggesting it was the source for an exercise by students. One drawing is dated 1883.
I wouldn't have thought the work in Dundee was by Poynter. Here are examples of his signature and monogram.

2 attachments
Martin Hopkinson,

Donato Esposito should be encouraged to look at this

Barbara Bryant,

Martin, I will be seeing Donato tomorrow and will mention this drawing to him.

Also, I corresponded with the curator at Dundee in 2017, as myself and others could all see the drawing was not by Burne-Jones (as it was then listed on Art UK). The curator kindly sent this detail which is marginally better than the ones attached above.

1 attachment
Barbara Bryant,

According to Donato Esposito, who has made a study of Poynter's drawings, the work under discussion is not by Poynter.

Jacinto Regalado,

It feels like a French Orientalist work to me, but that is just a hunch.

Peter Nahum,

I have updated the images on the site with Scott Buckle's text, as I feel it is the most relevant.

Vanessa Riley,

Can anyone shed any light on these water colours? Signed Edward Burne Jones 1881. I’ve owned them for 40 years. Original frames.

Vanessa Riley,

Struggling to upload the photographs, sorry

Dennis Lanigan,

These two drawings you have uploaded are not by Edward Burne-Jones although I don't know who did them. Dennis Lanigan

Osmund Bullock,

Vanessa, you need to click on the 'About' tab at the top of the page, which explains "What is Art Detective?". Or go straight to Note especially the third sentence.

Vanessa, thank you for contacting us and sorry we are not the site you are looking for. We recommend you contact an art dealer.

Thank you, Osmund. Art UK hours are Monday–Friday 9.00–5.30, so we appreciate you preventing further comments or images being posted in error.

We receive enquiries daily about privately-owned artworks so I think it's high time we edited our homepage. The term 'publicly-owned art' is just misleading, implying broadly 'owned by the public'. Osmund, the information you mention is also reached by clicking 'Find out how you can get involved' right below the intro paragraph.

Jacinto Regalado,

Yes, it would be clearer to say "art in public/institutional collections."

Jacob Simon,

This discussion, "Who made this chalk study of a man in a headscarf with a ring in his ear?" has attracted 12 comments pertinent to this drawing, July-September this year. As Scott says (29 July), supported by Peter Nahum, "the drawing looks like the work of a competent student or amateur artist. It doesn't look like any works by Burne-Jones that I know of. The signature appears to read 'E J B Jones', so that genuinely may be the name of the artist". Scott draws attention to other copies, one signed and dated by J Astley in 1883. They were probably made by students from an unidentified original.

Subject to the other group leaders and to the collection, I recommend that this discussion be closed. We can conclude that the artist was E.J.B. Jones and perhaps assign a date of c.1883? The drawing is of course not by Burne Jones.