A beautiful Roman widow plays music beside her husband’s urn. According to Walker Art Gallery, the marble cinerary urn is based on one Rossetti owned and the instruments were from Pompeian wall paintings. While I don’t know exactly which images Rossetti used as his source, I did find this fresco from Pompeii via Wikimedia
It’s so bright and airy– not what we would consider mournful. That is, of course, based my own modern perception. Rossetti’s painting is historically accurate since the Romans wore white robes for mourning. I believe that Buddhist and Asian cultures also wear white as mourning, as well as people in medieval Europe. Here’s an interesting post about historical funeral fashion conventions.
Yet again, I think that Rossetti is using the gauzy scarf that can be seen in several of his works.
As I mentioned in Signs of Life, I think it may be the same scarf or shawl visible in this 1865 photograph of Jane Morris. The blurred movement of the scarf that speaks to me. It seems so alive, so ephemeral.