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from The Brightest Firefly by Dacia M Arnold

In An Artist's Studio

In An Artist’s Studio






Historical fiction carries a fairly intuitive explanation. With a robust following, the genre will never fade in popularity. Transportation to a distant time and place has always fueled my affection for reading. Composing this work was no exception. This story is my speculation of how the great poet Christina Rossetti discovered the inspiration for her famous poem, “In An Artist’s Studio.” 


Ms. Christina Rossetti removed her gloves as she entered the studio of the renowned painter. She heard of his marvelous work from her charity ball, in which he generously donated paintings depicting women of all behaviors. She auctioned for her charity and traveled days to thank the gentleman in person for his kindness. But when she stepped into the dusty loft, she faced a troubling realization.

“Pardon me,” Rossetti addressed a younger woman cleaning paint brushes in a back corner of the open room.

“Me, madam?” the girl appeared not to look Rossetti in the eyes but kept her head bowed in case she was not the subject of conversation.

“You. This is you in these paintings, is it not?” Rossetti motioned to the dozens of canvases hanging on the walls. Navigating through the forest of easels, Christina closed the distance between her and the working woman.

“Oh, madam, I am the assistant here. You should query the artist about his work, not me.” The girl turned back to her labor but led the way with searching hands as if the room where they stood was pitch black.

“My dear woman, are you inflicted?” Rossetti maintained an objective tone as to not offend the woman with her pity.

“Only just, madam. I promise you I am a competent assistant.” She continued working.

“Without a doubt.”

It was not her blindness that pulled her heartstring. The irony laid in every single beautiful composition in the room holding a woman as its subject. Though each in its variance of time and place, the face, and the eyes especially, were all the same. The same woman who blindly tended to the studio chores. This irony moved Rossetti so considerably that she knew she must express the beauty and admiration, evident in the artist’s work to this capable woman.

Then, Rossetti mused, would the woman’s enlightenment remove all romance from the scene? The paintings she cared for, are that of her likeness; an image she may have never seen hersel...

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