William Allingham (Irish, Ballyshannon, Donegal 1824–1889 Hampstead, London)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (British, London 1828–1882 Birchington-on-Sea)
Sir John Everett Millais (British, Southampton 1829–1896 London)
Dalziel Brothers (British, active 1839–1893)
Routledge & Co. (London)
Illustrations: wood engraving
6 7/8 x 4 1/2 in. (17.5 x 11.5 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1922
Not on view
Rossetti’s first published illustration was made for this volume to accompany the poem The Maids of Elfin-mere. Characteristically, the image focuses on a vision of three maidens who appear nightly to spin and chant, entrancing a pastor’s son who, “listening to their gentle singing, felt his heart go from him clinging, round these maids of Elfen-Mere.” Allingham, who wrote the related ballad, was an Irish poet known for fairy subjects. The stiff drapery and repeated poses in the image derive from late Gothic art, while the girls resemble Rossetti’s beloved Elizabeth Siddal. Edward Burne-Jones, a close friend of Rossetti's, called the related design “the most beautiful drawing for an illustration I have ever seen.”
Inscription: In ink on front flyleaf: W. M. Rossetti [William Michael Rossetti]
William Michael Rossetti (British, 1829–1919)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 17, 1995–August 20, 1995.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy: British Art and Design," May 20–October 26, 2014.
Gleeson White English illustration: "the sixties": 1855-70. Archibald Constable & Co., 1903, p. 160.
Forrest Reid Illustrators of the Eighteen-Sixties. London, 1928, pp. 6, 30-38.
Rodney K. Engen Pre-Raphaelite Prints: The Graphic Art of Millais, Holman Hunt, Rossetti and their Followers. Lund Humphries, 1995, Rossetti's illustration, "The Maids of Elfen-mere.", fig. no. 55, pp. 92-95, ill.
Gregory R. Suriano The Pre-Raphaelite Illustrators: The Published Graphic Art of the English Pre-Raphaelites and Their Associates. Oak Knoll Press, 2000, pp. 15, 25-6, 35,40, 46, 52, 71-2, 81-2, 93-5, 138, 192, 196.
Paul Goldman Beyond Decoration: The illustrations of John Everett Millais. 2005, Book Illustrations, 3, pp. 11, 21, 37, 70-71, ill.