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Sidonia von Bork is the central character in Wilhelm Meinhold's gothic romance 'Sidonia the Sorceress'. The novel is set in sixteenth-century Pomerania and chronicles the crimes of the evil Sidonia, whose beauty captivates all who see her. She is shown here at the court of the dowager Duchess of Wolgast, one of the early intrigues in a career that leads to her execution as a witch. Many of the details of Sidonia's appearance are taken directly from Meinhold's description, but the costume is derived from a portrait of Isabella d'Este by Giulio Romano at Hampton Court. This is one of three figure studies, which were the earliest watercolours Burne-Jones completed.

August 2004