Almost from the beginning of his career Solomon's work was influenced by Pre-Raphaelitism, and he very soon made the acquaintance of Rossetti and Burne-Jones. As with other members of Rossetti's circle, he took part in the contemporary revival of book illustration and executed decorative work for Morris.
The subject of this drawing is taken from Dante's Vita Nuova when the poet describes his first meeting with Beatrice, his idealised love, 'at the beginning of her nineth year almost.' Rossetti, for whom Dante was a key figure, probably influenced Solomon's choice of subject.
Gallery label, September 2004
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