Richard Parkes Bonington. Bassanio and Portia, c. 1826.

Watercolor, approximately 5 x 6.5 inches. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven CT.

Although other titles have been suggested for this small picture, the source is clearly Act III, Scene ii, of The Merchant of Venice. Bassanio has wisely chosen the lead casket on the table behind them and found inside it Portia's picture. He now claims her with a kiss as he has been directed by the poem that accompanies "fair Portia's counterfeit":

You that choose not by the view
Chance as fair, and choose as true.
Since this fortune falls to you
Be content and seek no new.
If you be well pleased with this
And hold your fortune for your bliss,
Turn you where your lady is,
And claim her with a loving kiss.

In the background of the picture stand Portia's maid Nerissa and Bassanio's friend Gratiano, two lovers who have had no need of caskets or poems to make their choice of mates.