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Although the subject of this study has not been identified, its handling and its focus on a single figure in an interior setting relate it to Burne-Jones's two pictures illustrating 'Sidonia the Sorceress' (nos.2 and 3). As in the portrait of Sidonia, Burne-Jones's model was most probably Fanny Cornforth. Fanny was one of the Pre-Raphaelite beauties, or 'stunners', and was allegedly discovered by Rossetti on the Strand, where she worked as a prostitute. She posed for a number of Rossetti's paintings and was his 'housekeeper' after the death of Lizzie Siddal. The motif on the hanging behind the woman resembles the Pomegranate (or Fruit) wallpaper design produced by William Morris in 1864.

September 2004