For an Oil-Portrait of Mrs. William Morris

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1868
Genre: fragment


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

Scholarly Commentary


The latin couplet translates: “Famous for her husband, a poet, and most famous for her face; so let this picture of mine add to her fame”. WMR's note in his 1911 edition identifies the picture as “the one which hangs in the Tate Gallery at Millbank”. But the sentence—or rather, a slightly variant version of it—is written across the top of the oil portrait now at Kelmscott Manor. WMR's remark was correct in 1911, however. WMR notes further that while “Rossetti knew Latin up to a certain point. . .I am not wholly sure that he could have indited this couplet. Possibly he obtained the assistance of Mr. Swinburne.”

The sentence inevitably recalls the concluding couplet of DGR's “House of Life sonnet “The Portrait”.

The text on the painting reads “vultu” for “forma”.

Textual History: Composition

WMR must have found the text in one of DGR's notebooks. However, the manuscript is not now known.

Printing History

First published by WMR in his edition of 1911.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 5-1868.raw.xml