Lady Gregory records Yeats’s account of the sitting in her Sir Hugh Lane: His Life and Legacy (79-80): ‘The pastel, which I still have, was an evening’s work. Mancini put his usual grill of threads where the picture was to be and another grill of threads corresponding exactly with it in front of me. He did not know anything about me, we had no language in common, and he worked for an hour without interest or inspiration. Then I remembered a story of Lane’s. Mancini, Italian peasant as he was, believed that he would catch any illness or deformity of those whom he met., He was not thinking of microbes, but of some mysterious process like that of the Evil Eye. He had just been painting someone who had lost a leg, and whose cork leg he believed was having a numbing effect on his own. He worried Lane with his terror—‘My leg is losing all power of sensation,’ he would say at intervals. The thought of this story made me burst into laughter and Mancini began to draw with great excitement and rapidity’.
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