The simple message of the 'parable' is that while the young man assists his beloved with her self-portrait, the mirror ('Love's Mirror') improves on art by reflecting an image of the two lovers together. Whether the features of the woman are meant to be those of Elizabeth Siddal is unclear, but the subject can be read as a romanticised image of her in the dual role of Rossetti's model and pupil in the earliest days of their relationship. These is no contemporary reference to this drawing, although it is known to have belonged to the poet Coventry Patmore (possibly as a gift from the artist), who was an intimate associate of the Pre-Raphalites. The model for the young man in the drawing may have been Thomas Woolner.

  • Purchased and presented by subscribers, 1903.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Old Masters...deceased members of the British by Linnell and Rossetti
330 Royal Academy of Arts, London 1883-01-01 - 1883-03-10
Works by English Pre-Raphaelite Painters Lent by the Art Gallery Committee of the Birmingham Corporation
32 Tate Gallery, London 1911-12 - 1912-03
Pre-Raphaelite Women
16 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 1986-10-19 - 1986-01-02
16 Stoke-on-Trent Museum and Art Gallery 1986-09-13 - 1986-10-19
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
118 Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo 1990-09-22 - 1990-11-14
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, England
16 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington 1995-03-09 - 1995-05-07
16 Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio 1995-05-27 - 1995-07-16
16 Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington 1995-08-11 - 1995-10-15
16 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1995-11-04 - 1996-01-02
16 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia 1996-01-23 - 1996-04-10
16 Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery 1996-05-25 - 1996-09-29
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
49 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 2003-10-16 - 2004-01-18
49 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam 2004-02-27 - 2004-06-06
Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites
52 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 2005-10-01 - 2006-01-15
52 Museum Villa Stuck, Munich 2006-03-09 - 2006-06-18
The Pre-Raphaelites
44 Nationalmuseum, Stockholm 2009-02-26 - 2006-05-24


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
May 1894 The Portfolio p. 31.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti: an Illustrated Memorial of his Art and Life
H C Marillier 1899 George Bell and Sons, London no. 19; p. 65.
City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Catalogue of the Permanent Collection of Drawings
A E Whitley 1939 Bemrose & Sons, Ltd., Derby p. 366.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882, The Paintings and Drawings: A Catalogue Raisonne
Virginia Surtees 1971 Oxford University Press, London vol. 1, no. 668, p. 220.
Pre-Raphaelite Drawings: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Andrea Rose 1977 The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London no. 3D7.
The Art of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: 3. The Watercolours and Drawings of 1850-1855
A I Grieve 1978 Real World, Norwich no. 57.
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, England
Stephen Wildman 1995 Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia p. 102.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Edwin Becker, Elizabeth Prettejohn, Julian Treuherz 2003 Waanders, Zwolle p. 163.
Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites
Colin Cruise 2005 Merrell, London p. 102.
The Pre-Raphaelites
2009 Nationalmuseum, Stockholm cat.44, p.140


Coventry Patmore; Patmore Sale, Christie's 6 April 1898 (lot 10 entitled 'Love's Mirror') £35.14s; Charles Fairfax Murray.

Associated people

Name Type
Elizabeth Siddal Artist's model

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