'Fanny Cornforth and GP Boyce', Dante Gabriel Rossetti

A bearded man and a young woman sit at an easel in front of a window

Pen and ink on paper, drawn about 1858, 21.5 x 31.1cm, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle

This drawing shows Rossetti's model Fanny Cornforth with the watercolour artist George Price Boyce in a London studio.

The profile portrait, behind the figures, represents Ruth Herbert. She was an actress whose beauty was much admired in Rossetti's circle.

It was from around 1858 that Cornforth became a close friend of both Rossetti and Boyce. She has been said to have been the mistress of both men. The triangular relationship has become famous through the painting 'Bocca Baciata' , commissioned by Boyce as a portrait of Cornforth.

The intimacy of the pose is a little improper for this date and (with the portrait of Herbert in the background), may hint at the 'Bohemian' studio life of Rossetti's circle.