'The Maids of Elfen-Mere', Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Black and white illustration showing a young man sitting on the floor with three young women standing over him

Ink on paper, drawn 1854, 12.7 x 8.3cm, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Paul Mellon Fund

Illustrating William Allingham's poem, based on an old German tale about the supernatural appearance of three women dressed in white. Each night they sang and spun but vanished on the stroke of eleven. One night the pastor's son, desperate for them to stay longer, put back the village clock. The maids came once more but never returned. The son died of a broken heart.