'The Blessed Damozel', Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Painting in elaborate frame dominated by a female figure at the top with long red hair

Oil on canvas, painted about 1875-81, 111 x 82.7cm; predella 36.5 x 82.8cm, National Museums Liverpool (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight)

Rossetti often wrote poems to accompany his pictures, but this was the only time he worked the other way around. The composition is based on Rossetti's most famous poem, in which the Blessed Damozel in heaven longs for her lover still on earth. The lover is depicted in the lower painting.

The painting follows the format of a Renaissance altarpiece with the frame incorporating a small narrative scene called the 'predella' beneath the main picture. The painting follows the poem closely.

The blessed damozel leaned out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.

The model for the Damozel was Alexa Wilding.