Lady Lilith is an oil painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti originally painted in 1866 using his mistress, Fanny Cornforth, as a model. At the insistence of shipping magnate Frederick Richards Leyland, Lady Lilith was partly repainted in 1868 using the face of Alexa Wilding.
On 9 April 1866 Rossetti wrote to Frederick Leyland:
As you continue to express a wish to have a good picture of mine, I write you word of another I have now begun, which will be one of my best. The picture represents a lady combing her hair. It is the same size as Palmifera – 36 x 31 inches, and will be full of material, – a landscape seen in the background. Its color chiefly white and silver, with a great mass of golden hair.
It was commissioned by Leyland in early 1866 and Lady Lilith was delivered to him in early 1869 (with the above mentioned medofication) at a price of £472 – quite a lot for that time 😉
The text that was attached to the painting, originally titled “Body’s Beauty” is in sync with that of another painting of Rossetti’s. He later renames the poem to “Lilith”
Find the poem –> HERE <–
Lady Lilith was donated in 1935 to the Delaware Art Museum where it is now displayed.
There are several copies pertaining to the painter.
A large 1867 replica of Lady Lilith – in watercolor and showing the face of Cornforth, is now owned by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The text that accompanies it is a fragment from Goethe’s Faust:
“Beware of her fair hair, for she excells
All women in the magic of her locks,
And when she twines them round a young man’s neck
she will not ever set him free again.”
† Vampire Art