Fredeman, Correspondence, 63. 36.
Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial, 129-130.◦
WMR, DGR as Designer and Writer, 41.◦
Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 92 (no. 163).
Like the Lilith and Venus paintings that followed this one, the picture folds into central Rossettian subjects
and preoccupations. Although this painting does not form part of a double work, as the others
do, it relates directly to the Matter of Troy that DGR took up in “Troy Town” , which DGR pursued as a double work. All of these works interconnect because DGR took
a syncretic approach to the Matter of Troy, the Matter of Arthur, and the Genesis story. The
great Bocca Baciata initiates DGR's investigation of female figures—Lucrezia Borgia is another—who stand at the nexus of ominous histories.
DGR wrote to his mother in February 1863 to ask her “ if there are any
stereoscopic pictures. . .which represent general views of cities, would you send them. . .,
or anything of a fleet of ships. I want to use them in painting Troy at the back of my
63. 36.). The painting was finished by September. Its success
at the Liverpool Exhibition may have induced DGR to make the replica (now in the Fitzwilliam Museum).
DGR sent the picture for a small exhibition of contemporary works at the Liverpool Academy
held in September and October 1864 (see letters to Ford Madox Brown of 3 September and to
George Rae of 29 September,
Fredeman, Correspondence, 64. 125 and 134)
). Rae said of the picture that it was “the gem of the
exhibition” (quoted in
WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 49
Swinburne gave the picture special attention and praise in the extended critical notice of
DGR's poetry and painting that he published in his
Essays and Reviews (1875), 99
. The fact that Fairfax Murray made a replica (it is in the Fitzwilliam Museum) underscores the
importance that DGR's contemporaries attached to the picture.