Portrait of Mrs. William Morris, née Jane Burden, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, graphite on paper, roughly 13 x 11″ (33 x 29 cm). In the Morgan Library and Museum, which has both zoomable and downloadable versions of the image on their site.
I’m intrigued, in this drawing, by the Art-Nouveau influenced curves of the outlines, and how subtly they’re indicated. I’m particularly fascinated with the tight range of the overall value scale. The only areas that are truly dark are the pupils of the eyes.
Starting with what appears to be cream paper, and drawing with predominately soft graphite lines and soft tones of shading, Rossetti has managed nonetheless to make the forms feel crisply indicated by of the precision of the line. In this respect, the drawing reminds me of some by Degas.
Even the edges of the composition are defined with a gentle line that is reminiscent of the edges left by impressions of etchings.