Emily Augusta Patmore, "by whom and for whom I became a poet," as Patmore later wrote, had been modelled by fate not only to be the "Angel in the House" of his poem, but also to be the muse of a literary and artistic circle. She had sweetness, beauty, and poise.
The portrait which Millais painted of her in 1851, four years after the marriage, reveals a beauty which is impressive, having dignity without excessive pride. There is a great seriousness in the large eyes, intelligence in the shape of the face, yet the effect is more of sweetness than austerity.
Browning wrote a poem to her which, under the title of
"A Face," is one of the better known of his shorter poems:
If one could have that little head of hers
Painted upon a background of pale gold,
Such as the Tuscan's early art prefers!
No shade encroaching on the matchless mould
Of those two lips, which should be opening soft
In the pure profile; not as when she laughs,
For that spoils all: but rather as if aloft
Yon hyacinth, she loves so, leaned its staff's
Burthen of honey-coloured buds to kiss
And capture 'twixt the lips apart for this.
Then her lithe neck. three fingers might surround,
How it should waver on the pale gold ground