This remarkable work occupies the boundary between painting and sculpture and was the centerpiece of one of Burne-Jones's most ambitious narrative schemes.
In 1875 the young conservative MP Arthur Balfour (1848-1930), who would later become Prime Minister, commissioned a cycle of narrative works for the drawing room of his London home. Burne-Jones selected the legend of the Greek hero Perseus, devising a sequence of ten scenes to tell this story – six were to be oil paintings and the remaining four were to be low relief panels. All ten were to be set in an elaborate framework of acanthus scrolls which would run around the upper walls of the drawing room. However, this work was not well-received when exhibited in 1878 and Burne-Jones abandoned the remaining reliefs, meaning this is the only example.