Silence. For a Design

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1877
Date: 1870
Genre: picture notes


◦ Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial, 157.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné I. 122 (no. 214)


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1911.

Scholarly Commentary


WMR was the first to print the textual component of this work—that is, the brief prose summary that DGR wrote to accompany the picture. At least two versions of the textual accompaniment were composed: a draft text that WMR found in one of DGR's notebooks; and a finished version that DGR sent to Jane Morris in a letter (June 1878), where he called the text “a label which is to be printed and put on” the picture: “Silence holds in her hand a branch of peach, the symbol used by the ancients; its fruit being held to resemble the human heart and its leaf the human tongue. With the other hand she draws together the veil encircling the shrine in which she sits.” (see Fredeman, Correspondence 78. 118 ).

The drawing also exists in two versions, one in black and red chalk and one in pencil, both dated 1870.

Textual History: Composition

The prose ekphrasis of the picture was written sometime after June 1877, as we can tell from the surviving draft manuscript, which is sketched on the back of a frame maker's invoice.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1