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Rossetti designed this illustration for William Allingham's volume 'The Music Maker, A Love Story and Two Series of Day and Night Songs', which was published in 1855. It was one of the first works by Rossetti that Burne-Jones saw. Writing in the 'Oxford and Cambridge Magazine' in 1856, he considered it 'The most beautiful drawing for an illustration I have ever seen; the weirdness of the Maids of Elfen-Mere, the musical timed movement of their arms together as they sing, the face of the man above all, are such as only a great artist could conceive'.

September 2004