Rossetti’s magnificent 51in by 31in painting Pandora (1871), which was last seen at auction 50 years ago, is to be sold by Sotheby’s London in the British & Irish Art sale on May 22 with an estimate of £5 million-£7 million.

At the time Rossetti painted Pandora-who, in Greek mythology, succumbed to curiosity and released a collection of evils into the world from the eponymous Pandora’s Box-he was in thrall to the soulful beauty Jane Morris, the wife of William Morris, who was his regular muse. A couple of years previously, Rossetti had indulged in a Pandora-like moment of his own when he opened his wife’s grave to remove a manuscript of her poems and was subsequently tormented by them.

On May 20, Sotheby’s will sell the only surviving autographed manuscript of Rachmaninov’s great Second Symphony in E Minor. The manuscript was presumed lost, following the piece’s premiere in St Petersburg in 1908, but turned up in 2004 in the hands of a European collector. It’s estimated at £1 million- £1.5 million (020-7293 5000; www.sothebys.com).

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