The Portrait

Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Physical Description

Medium: black and red chalk
Dimensions: 33 x 25 1/2 in.
Note: The frame is said to have been inscribed with lines 4 and 8 of The House of Life sonnet “ The Portrait ”.
Signature: monogram
Date on Image: 1869

Production Description

Production Date: 1869
Exhibition History: R.A., 1883 (no.340)
Model: Jane Burden Morris


Current Location: Private Collection, Tokyo
Archival History: L.R. Valpy; Canon Valpy; sold at Christie's May 19, 1906 (lot 146); Sotheran; long lost until finally appearing in a private collection in Tokyo; Peter Nahum at Leicester Galleries

Scholarly Commentary


No one has described the picture since the brief notice in the 1883 catalogue of the Royal Academy exhibition. Nonetheless, the frame inscription from The House of Life sonnet “ The Portrait ” argues the picture's status as part of a “double work”. However, the sonnet is also often and by tradition associated with another picture, the famous Beata Beatrix , which is a very different association since its model was DGR's dead wife Elizabeth Siddal.


The inscription on the frame of lines 4 and 8 of The House of Life sonnet “ The Portrait ” defines this painting as part of a “double work”.


Included Text

[from “ The Portrait”]
  • Even of her inner self the perfect whole,
  • The very sky and sea-line of her soul.
Note: Reportedly inscribed on the original frame.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: s212.rap.xml