'A Christmas Carol', Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Portrait painting of a young woman playing a musical instrument

Oil on canvas, dated 1867, 46.4 x 39.4cm, Executors of the late Lord Leverhulme

This picture presents a music-making subject with exotic accessories and medieval connotations (the Christmas carol, quoted on the frame, is of medieval origin).

The diverse accessories include a two-stringed instrument and a spiral hair ornament seen in other paintings. They are chosen not for historical consistency, but rather to create an appropriately sumptuous setting for the Christmas subject.