head, shoulders and arms of a woman with blonde wavy hair, leaning on a white cushion; woman wears brown, black and white dress, gold chain bracelet, pearl earrings, gold and pearl rings and holds a fan

I know a maiden fair to see, take care, 1868

This picture illustrates a passage from a German ballad translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1843:

"I know a maiden fair to see, / Take care! / She can both false and friendly be, / Beware! Beware! / Trust her not / She is fooling thee."

The Italian-born Perugini arrived in London in 1863, where he apprenticed to Frederic Leighton. The model in this picture appears in several Leighton oils of the mid-1860s and is probably Rosetti's model and mistress, Fanny Cornforth. Perugini exhibited his painting at the Royal Academy in 1868, the same year that Leighton exhibited the Institute's Jonathan's Token to David. Perugini's picture was acquired at that exhibition by the great Pre-Raphaelite master, John Everett Millais. In 1873, Perugini married Kate Dickens, the only daughter of Charles Dickens. He would become a very fashionable painter of neo-classical subjects, yet he rarely surpassed the enchanting virtuosity of this early masterwork.

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Perugini, I know a maiden fair to see (#001)
Details
Title
I know a maiden fair to see, take care
Artist Life
(born Italy), 1839 - 1918
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2003.204
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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head, shoulders and arms of a woman with blonde wavy hair, leaning on a white cushion; woman wears brown, black and white dress, gold chain bracelet, pearl earrings, gold and pearl rings and holds a fan