Study of a Young Girl

Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Physical Description

Medium: pencil and some body color against a flat gold ground
Dimensions: 7 1/4 x 2 1/2 in.
Note: An inscription by Ford Madox Hueffer appears on the mount: “Sketch by D. G. Rossetti presented to Miss Elsie Martindale by Mr. Fold Madox Brown October 3rd/1893.”

Production Description

Production Date: 1848-1850?


Current Location: Mrs. Charles Lamb
Note: Image is taken from the Christie's website.
Archival History: Ford Madox Brown; Elsie Martindale (Mrs. Ford Madox Hueffer); Mrs. Charles Lamb; Christie's sale June 14, 2005

Scholarly Commentary


John Christian writes that “In style the drawing belongs to a specific group of early composition drawings. . . . Characteristic features of all these drawings are the rather plain faces, with straight hair and the long noses noticed by William Michael Rossetti, and the drapery falling in crisp, angular folds" (Christian, “Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Study of a Girl,”11). He has in mind the Poe drawings for “Ulalume” and “The Raven” as well as “The Sleeper.” The figure of Mary in The Girlhood of Mary Virgin and especially in Ecce Ancilla Domini! is comparable in point of the psychological tone.

Production History

Ford Madox Brown is the chief authority for dating this drawing mid-1848, as John Christian points out in his discussion of the picture in the Christie's Sale Catalogue for 14 June 2005 (Christian, “Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Study of a Girl,”11). In arguing for a date of spring or early summer 1848 for the drawing, when DGR was working in Brown's studio, Christian observes that the figure bears some resemblance to the female figure in “Hand and Soul” but that story was written between September and December 1849. Besides, as Christian rightly points out, the style of this drawing and the others like it tempt one “to place them immediately after Rossetti's visit to Belgium with Hunt in the autumn of 1849 [when] he was overwhelmed by the ‘miraculous works’ of Van Eyck and Memling” (Christian, “Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Study of a Girl,” 12). Virginia Surtees suggests that the work should be given a later date, perhaps 1850, and that DGR gave it to Brown as a gift.


The drawing, as Christian notes, is much in debt to the style of early Flemish painting. More particularly, “It is surely consciously modelled on those innumerable early Italian panels in which a figure is uncompromisingly etched against a flat gold ground (Christian, “Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Study of a Girl,” 12).



  1. image

    Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné , vol. 2, plate 452.
  2. image

    Benedetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 160-161.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: s664.rap.xml