Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919)

Charles Fairfax Murray
The Kings’ Daughters, c. 1875
Taken from D.G. Rosetti’s poem ‘My Father’s Close’, translated from the old French, which appeared in his ‘Poems’, 1870.
Charles Fairfax Murray
Portrait of Clara Sentance, 1870
The Last Parting of Helga and Gunnlaug
Catalogue Note from Sotheby’s: This watercolour probably dates from c.1880-85 and relates to an oil on panel (Delaware Art Museum) purchased in 1893 by Samuel and Mary Bancroft who formed one of the finest collections of Pre-Raphaelite art with Murray’s help and advice. In 1880 William Morris published with Eirikr Magnusson a translation from the Icelandic of Three Northern Love Stories, which included ‘The Story of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue and Raven the Skald’. The watercolour illustrates: ‘Now, one morning as the brothers Hermund and Gunnlaug went to Axe-water to wash, on the other side went many women towards the river, and in the company was Helga the Fair. Then said Hermund. ‘Dost thou see thy friend Helga there on the other side of the river?’ Surely I see her says Gunnlaug…Therewith they mcrossed the river, and Helga and Gunnlaug spake awhile together, and as the brothers crossed the river eastward back again, Helga stood and gazed long after Gunnlaug.’


Known more as collector, dealer and connoisseur of art and books, Charles Fairfax Murray worked as an assistant under several Pre-Raphaelites such as Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.