[F. G. Stephens]. "Fine-Art Gossip." Athenæum no. 3065 (July 24, 1886), p. 122, states that the picture of Portia in the costume of "an Italian advocate" is "not quite finished," and that it is "probably destined for next year's Academy".
[F. G. Stephens]. "Minor Exhibitions." Athenæum no. 3080 (November 6, 1886), p. 606, reviewing the McLean's exhibition, states that Millais's "figure [of Portia] is mainly studied from Miss Mary Anderson" and observes that "she does not look in the least like a Daniel come to judgment".
Ellen Terry. Letter to Sir John Millais. March 30, 1886, writes "Of course I will lend you the dress [presumably the dress worn in the picture, see Ref. Oakley 1981, pp. 183–84, fig. 2] (here it is.) or anything in the world that I possess, that could be of the very smallest service to you".
M. H. Spielmann. Millais and His Works. Edinburgh, 1898, p. 176, no. 283.
John Guille Millais. The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais. New York, 1899, vol. 2, pp. 192, 483, discusses the selection of "Miss Dolan, a favourite model of Lord Leighton's" as the model for the painting of a Shakespearean heroine; reproduces (opposite p. 192) a three-quarter-length 1886 oil sketch in which the model's pose is nearly identical to that in this picture but in which she wears a Greek dress, and (following p. 196) an 1886 bust of the same model, called Portia, and wearing the high-collared robe.
Ronald Sutherland Gower. Old Diaries, 1881–1901. New York, 1902, p. 48, writes that he saw in Millais's studio on August 2, 1886, "a 'Portia,' in Ellen Terry's red dress in that part, but not a portrait of that actress".
[Roger Fry]. "The Grafton Gallery." Athenæum no. 4048 (May 27, 1905), p. 664, reviewing the exhibition of the Forbes estate at the Grafton Gallery, observes that Portia shows "lamentable" proof "of the destructive effects of popularity".
Ellen Terry. "My First Appearance in America." McClure's Magazine 31 (June 1908), ill. p. 128, as "Ellen Terry as Portia".
Bryson Burroughs. Catalogue of Paintings. 1st ed. New York, 1914, p. 183, no. M61–1, as Ellen Terry in the part of the heroine of Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice".
Augustin Rischgitz. Letter. April 24, 1916, informs the Museum that his aunt, Ellen Terry, lent Millais her dress but is not represented in the picture.
Ralph H. Graves. Letter to Winifred Howe. December 6, 1927, informs the Museum that Millais's son, writing for the family, asserts that the sitter is a Miss Donovan.
Mabel Terry Lewis. Letter to the director. January 16, 1927, writes that her aunt, Ellen Terry, lent Millais the dress she wore in the "Merchant of Venice" but that the model was one of his daughters.
Art News 43 (March 1–14, 1944), ill. p. 11.
Richard Ormond. Letter to Monroe H. Fabian. January 8, 1971, believes that the sitter was one of Millais's daughters, a model, or the actress Mary Anderson, but in any event not Ellen Terry.
Malcolm Warner. Letter to Lucy Oakley. June 27, 1977, notes that none of Millais's daughters looked remotely like Portia; suggests that x-rays might reveal the studies Millais's son published in 1899 [see Ref.].
Lucy Oakley. "The Evolution of Sir John Everett Millais's Portia." Metropolitan Museum Journal 16 (1981), pp. 181–94, fig. 1, traces the history of the picture from its conception in 1885 as a woman in a Greek dress, probably inspired by the American actress Mary Anderson, to a Shakespearean subject in which the model, presumably Miss Dolan, wears one of Ellen Terry's Portia costumes from the "Merchant of Venice".
Carolyn Merlo. "John Everett Millais and the Shakespearean Scene." Gazette des beaux-arts 104 (September 1984), pp. 82–85 nn. 13, 14, fig. 3.
John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. London, 1984, p. 235.
Katharine Baetjer. British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875. New York, 2009, pp. 280–83, no. 134, ill. (color).