Willowwood (corrected fair copy manuscripts, Union College Library)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Production Description

Document Title: Willowwood
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of composition: 1868-1869
Type of Manuscript: various types, from fair copy to corrected drafts
Scribe: DGR
Corrector: DGR


Current Location: Union College, Schaffer Library
Note: The manuscripts are part of the Stillman Collection.

Physical Description

Paper: The four leaves are torn from a notebook and are uniform; size, approx 21.7 x 17, with individual variations at the horizontal length.


  • Ullmann,Union College Willowwood Manuscripts (1985)

Scholarly Commentary


Although the leaves are loose, these four manuscripts comprise an integral document. Each of the four leaves is torn from one of DGR's characteristic notebooks, and all four come from the same notebook. It is clear that the titling and numbering of the four texts was done later, and it is also certain that the original title heading the first leaf, A Dream, signals the title of the sequence and not just the first sonnet.

The manuscripts gain a special integrity from their provenance: they represent a gift that DGR made to the American artist and photographer William James Stillman, possibly in early 1870 when the two men saw a good deal of each other in London (seeFredeman, Correspondence, 70.8), and probably in March and April of that year when they were together at Barbara Bodichon's cottage in Sussex, Scalands.

This text of the sonnets is notable because none of the four are divided into octave and sestet; indeed, line 8 of the first sonnet ends with a comma.

Textual History: Composition

The manuscripts represent early versions of the four sonnets, as collation shows. They predate the March 1869 printing of the sequence in the Fortnightly Review ; hence they must date between late December 1868 and March 1869.

Textual History: Revision

Corrections and/or variant readings appear on all four of the manuscript leaves. But the second two sonnets are more heavily corrected than the first two.


On the verso of the sheet carrying the second of the sonnets is DGR's rough sketch for his picture Mariana .

Printing History

The manuscripts are printed in S. O. A. Ullmann's brief monograph in facsimile and with a collation to certain key printed and manuscript texts.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Copyright: Digital images used with permission of Special Collections, Schaffer Library, Union College.