Like her brother William Michael, the sitter here, Christina Rossetti, was an occasional amateur artist. Another example of her work, some sketches of animals (a wombat, squirrels and a fox) executed circa 1862 at the London Zoo, is illustrated in William Michael Rossetti (ed.), The Family Letters of Christina Georgina Rossetti, London, 1908, facing p. 45. These letters also include one from her brother Dante Gabriel, written on 4 August 1852, which specifically mentions her essays in portraiture. 'Maria [their sister] has just shown me a letter of yours by which I find that you have been perpetrating portraits of some kind. If you answer this note, will you enclose a specimen, as I should like to see some of your handiwork'.