Elements of the final version are contained in this preliminary drawing. This rather primitive beginning is elaborated into a much more sophisticated work. By 1869 Burne-Jones was maturing and the relatively simple lines of the present drawing were substituted by more detailed observation of complex drapery. The crouched figure in the foreground here was retained and appears reversed in the final version. Relative to the later version, this drawing recounts the narrative less clearly. The lovers that appear here were eliminated in favour of the foolish virgins taking precedence, in the later version.
This unfinished drawing compares to a similarly unfinished oil version of The Blessed Damozel of 1857 (Sotheby's 19 June 1984)
This one of the earliest drawings made during the period of the artist's move from Oxford to London. The design was made c. 1857 and leans heavily upon Rossetti, whose design 'Mary Magdalen at the Door of Simon the Pharisee' (now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) it closely parallels. In fact, Burne-Jones sat for the Head of Christ in that picture. The present drawing is one of a pair of composition designs which are quite different from the final work completed in 1860 (ex Coltart collection).