F. G. Stephens was one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and later became the art critic of The Athenaeum. Rossetti, in an attempt to control the criticism of his work, gave Stephens exclusive rights to describe his major paintings and Stephens' writing provided Rossetti with a vehicle for his own interpretations of his work to become known.
On 21 October 1865 Stephens reviewed Rossetti's contemporary work including Il Ramoscello:
'Of late, the artist in question has, to some extent, resumed that practice of oil painting; the results we have now to describe, in the hope that the public may, ere long, be able to judge for itself of the order of their invention, originality and technical merit. The scale of the pictures is almost that of life.'
According to William Rossetti, II Ramoscello was a portrait of William Graham's daughter Amy, later Lady Muir MacKenzie. It was originally known by the title of Belle e Buona but was renamed in 1873 when Rossetti borrowed and repainted much of it, adding the new title to the background. Graham had most of the amendments removed but left the new title.
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