Dante Gabriel Rossetti 'The maids of Elfen-Mere', from William Allingham The Music Master
(Routledge, 1855)
C.58.b.21   12.5x7.5 cm

Wood-engraved by Dalziel Brothers

Maids of Elfen-Mere
  Black and white wood-engraved illustration, 1855-1870

This design was Rossetti's first book illustration, described by Burne-Jones as '.the most beautiful drawing for an illustration I have ever seen'. It also turned out to be perhaps the most influential, for it encouraged other Pre-Raphaelite artists to take illustration seriously. This in turn led to a change in the status of illustration, which had been seen as essentially decorative but came to share equal importance with the text.