The 1878 exhibition catalogue entry for this painting included the lyrics “Alas, I know a love song, / Sad or happy, each in turn.” Fittingly, Cupid, with arrows slung over his shoulder, pumps the organ at right. Artists and writers of the period embraced music as a model for art that appealed directly to the emotions. One critic said of this picture, “There is no story: nothing to guess at, but everything to feel.” Burne-Jones also associated the melancholy scene with his tempestuous affair with artist and model Maria Zambaco (1843–1914). The painting was first owned by businessman William Graham, who commissioned the Small Briar Rose series displayed nearby.1870/Unknown Place
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