This is an unfinished version or sketch for 'The Sleeping Beauty', the first composition in the artist’s ‘Briar Rose’ series of 1870-73. The Prince (not shown here) must cut his way through the enchanted forest to awaken the princess with a kiss. Other knights have tried to reach her but have fallen into a deep, magic slumber. Like many artists Burne-Jones worked first on nudes before clothing the figures. His skill in foreshortening to suggest depth and in showing contorted poses came from his study of Italian Renaissance art, and is well demonstrated here.