'The Seed of David', Dante Gabriel Rossetti

A triptych with a young man with sling on the left, a king on the right and Jesus being born in a stable in the centre

Watercolour on paper, painted 1855-7, 40.6 x 29.2cm, Tate. Purchased 1924

The central section was first painted in 1855 for the art critic John Ruskin. It shows the nativity of Christ, with Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus, worshipped by a King and a Shepherd, with angels.

In 1856, Rossetti was commissioned to paint a three- part altarpiece for Llandaff Cathedral. He added the side scenes to make the watercolour into a model for the altarpiece, but in the finished work many changes were introduced.