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The title of this illustration comes from the celebrated French novel by Alexander Dumas II about a generous-hearted courtesan who sacrifices herself for her lover. Beardsley shared a similar fate to the courtesan, suffering from tuberculosis that would eventually kill him. However, this drawing must also be considered as one of a series of fetishistic pictures Beardsley made of women preparing themselves at their dressing table. As a depiction of self-contemplation, in the cut-off mirror, it also suggests the theme of narcissism.

September 2004