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Sir Frederic William Burton, R.H.A.

‘Cassandra Fedele’
Black chalk, 102 x 69 cm. (1869)

In this drawing Cassandra Fedele, the 16th century Venetian poet and musician, is depicted with viol and bow before a music stand. Her significance as muse of Venice is indicated by the laurel leaves. On the background wall curtained bookshelves are flanked by Sts. George and Sebastian in niches, below a frieze of heads of virtuous women. The chaste beauty and grace of ‘Cassandra Fedele’ are typical of Burton, and the draughtsmanship particularly delicate. Her costume, with heavy sleeves, is loosely derived from Renaissance dress. It has been suggested that this is a portrait of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wife, Elizabeth Siddal.

Reproduced courtesy National Gallery of Ireland

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