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This subject is taken from the fourteenth-century Italian love poetry that Fazio degli Uberti wrote to his Lady, Agniola of Verona. Rossetti had translated and published it in his Early Italian Poets in 1861. The woman is contemplating her beauty in a mirror as she plaits her hair, inviting admiring looks from both her suitor, Uberti, and contemporary viewers. Rossetti’s lover Fanny Cornforth modelled for the picture.In its combination of warm colour, rich glazes and contrasting textures the painting shows the influence of Renaissance Venetian painters, particularly Titian whom Rossetti greatly admired.

July 2007