Frederick Sandys (1829-1904) was the son of a painter, and was educated at the Norwich School of Design. He began his career as a portrait painter and antiquarian illustrator, exhibiting at the Norwich Art Union even as a boy. He moved to London in 1851 and worked as a draughtsman for wood engravers. He became associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and developed a friendship and shared a house with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who pronounced Sandys as "the greatest living draftsman." Sandys' powerful and sensual images of female beauty and his iconic renderings of alluring and mysterious women are uniquely his own.
This painting draws on the legend that Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of King Henry II of England, killed his mistress, the fair Rosamund (Clifford). Henry was supposed to have concealed her within a complex maze in his park at Woodstock, near Oxford. When Eleanor learned of this, she managed to find her way through the maze to the house at its centre, where she gave Rosamund the choice of drinking a bowl or cup of poison, or dying by the dagger. In fact the whole legend is thought to be false: Henry admitted his affair in 1174, following which Rosamund retired as a nun to Godstow Abbey. Nevertheless, Eleanor and Rosamund were favourite subjects for Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-973: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)