This is a design for a wood-engraving to illustrate Christina Rossetti's poem 'If' published in 'The Argosy,' 1866 (vo. 1, no. 4, March, p. 336):
If he would come to-day, today,
Oh what a day to-day would be!
Sandys gratefully accepted the opportunities offered by the burgeoning demand for book and magazine illustration in the 1860s, and quickly established a reputation that lasted throughout the century. The poem reflects on the theme of melancholy love and was later re-titled 'Hope against Hope'. In this illustration Sandys sets a lone female figure against a landscape, brooding on the absence of her lover. Another drawing of this subject was acquired by the Huntington Art Gallery, California, in 1974 (see the Huntington Annual Report, 1973-74, p. 30).