In which we discuss multi-faceted mirrors


Tonight I was browsing through images and happened upon The Return of Tibullus to Delia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  This painting interests for many reasons, mainly because it marks the early period of Rossetti’s relationship with Elizabeth Siddal.   It has been written that when Rossetti was sketching his study for Delia, that he fell in love with Lizzie as she boldly posed with her hair in her mouth, as seen in the left hand side of the picture.  But it is not Lizzie who captures my attention tonight.

It cannot escape my notice that an object shown on the wall seems so familiar to me:


I cannot tell if Rossetti intends it to be seen as a mirror or a shield.  I’m certain that it is a shield. But it seems incredibly familiar to me, the first image springing to mind is the similarly faceted mirror in Fair Rosamund painting by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones:


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One Reply to “In which we discuss multi-faceted mirrors”

  1. Just a point of interest…

    I would be very surprised if both Rossetti and Burne-Jones did not have Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait in mind in these instances. This 1434 portrait (which the PRB were familiar with) features a famous convex mirror which is surrounded by medallions depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ.

    The best reproduction of this I could find is here:

    The whole painting can be seen here:

    You can see how cleverly the scene is reflected in the mirror. It really has to be seen ‘in the flesh’ to appreciate the minute detail.

    Kind Regards,


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