e her husband had completed her portrait. The painting was begun in Florence, Italy, during late summer of 1866, where Fanny posed for Hunt behind a chair that concealed her pregnancy. Their son was born in October; Fanny died two months later of complications from the delivery.
After returning to London, the grieving Hunt continued the portrait with the aid of his memory and a photograph. Insistent on accurate backgrounds and props, he retrieved from Florence Fanny’s paisley shawl, purple dress, and cameo brooch. The rich interior features many objects of upper-class “artistic” taste: the Chinese porcelain vase and gold mirror frame, Venetian glass bowl and chandelier, Persian pottery dish, and elegantly framed watercolors. Many of these objects are seen through the multiple, receding mirror reflections, which seem to evoke both eternity and the dimming of memory with time.