The compositional development of 'The Long Engagement' is a long story, revealing much about the hesitant and scrupulous nature of its artist. On a visit to Rossetti's studio on 13 March 1854, G.P. Boyce noted, 'A young man of the name of Hughes was painting a picture of Orlando inscribing his mistress' name on a tree. Parts nicely painted.'Having apparently reversed the composition (with the tree on the left), in August 1854 Hughes painted a detailed background of wild roses in the open air.Dissatisfied with the figure of Orlando and with the Shakespearian subject, Hughes wiped it out and at a later date began to devise a two-figure composition of 'modern lovers'. The three sketches on this sheet show Hughes trying to work out the composition of the two figures.

  • Presented by Charles Alexander Munro, 1959.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Arthur Hughes -


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
The Pre-Raphaelites
Leslie Parris 1984 Tate Gallery Publishing and Penguin Books, London p. 171
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection
Stephen Wildman 1995 Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia p.178; repr. fig. 47
Arthur Hughes: His Life and Works
Leonard Roberts 1997 Antique Collectors' Club cat 15.7; repr. p. 129


Alexander Munro; by descent to his son John Arthur Ruskin Munro; thence in 1944 to his widow Mrs Margaret Caroline Munro; gifted by her (in Charles Alexander Munro's name) in May 1959 to Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

Related work & resources

Discuss this work

Start a discussion about this work.

You need to login to discuss this work. Click here to login.

If you are not yet registered click here to become a member.
Find out more about membership