In this unfinished painting by Edward Burne-Jones, a wizard reveals the image of a shipwreck in his magic mirror. Though the artist merely referred to it as his “Maiden and Necromancer picture,” the subjects are reminiscent of Prospero and his daughter Miranda, of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Burne-Jones himself is believed to have been the model for the wizard. Frances Graham Horner, the daughter of his primary patron, was the model for the young woman. Observing that “Shakespeare’s late play…is concerned with the problems of art and legacy,” Thomas Knowles has suggested that “perhaps the wizard of this painting symbolizes the artist in the act of revealing the power of his art to a young woman.”
Together with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris, Burne-Jones was one of the leading members of medievalist faction of the Pre-Raphaelites. Inspired by medieval romances and Arthurian legends, they sought to revive the enchantment and chivalric ideals of the Middle Ages.