‘The Eve of Saint Agnes’ illustrates a scene from John Keats’s poem of the same name; the full title of the picture is ‘The Flight of Madeline and Porphyro during the Drunkenness Attending the Revelry’. It was painted in 1848, when Hunt was only 21 years old and still a student at the Royal Academy Schools. In his memoir, ‘Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’, published in 1905, he recalls returning to the studio he shared with fellow student John Everett Millais to work on the painting late into the night. The two young artists worked on each other’s paintings. Millais was responsible for painting the head of the bearded Baron figure in the painting.


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