“Found” (for a Picture)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1881 February
Date: 1854
Rhyme: abbaabbaccdeed
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ Bandelin, “‘Allegorizing on One's Own Hook’”, 43-46

◦ Bryant, “Two Unfinished Paintings,” 56-76.

◦ Bullen, The Pre-Raphaelite Body (1998), 61-64, 74-75

◦ Grieve, The Art of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 1. Found, 1-17

◦ Laurent, “Hidden Iconography in Found” 2006, 14-26

◦ Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial, 169-170

◦ Nochlin, “Lost and Found”, Art Bulletin (1978), 139-153

◦ Oberhausen, “Rossetti's Found”, Delaware Art Museum Occasional Papers no. 1 (1976)

◦ WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 18-19

◦ Sharp, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 265-268

◦ Stephens, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 37.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné vol. 1, 26-32.

◦ Wildman, Visions of Love and Life, 144-145.


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the The first edition of the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets..

Scholarly Commentary


The sonnet is “for” DGR's famous (unfinished) oil painting of the same title, which he began in 1853-54. The picture represents the climactic moment of a countryman's search for his sweetheart, who has become a prostitute in London. The sentimental literature dealing with this double work's story-picture is very large. DGR seems to have been most immediately inspired by William Bell Scott's “Rosabell”. Coming so late to the picture, the sonnet acquires a singularly personal significance, as it were a commentary on Rossetti's pictorial art in general, which he felt he had prostituted for the sake of worldly success.

Textual History: Composition

Although the picture was begun as early as 1853, the sonnet was not written until quite late, shortly before 16 February 1881 (see DGR's letter of 16 February to Watts-Dunton, Fredeman, Correspondence 81.81 . Two integral manuscripts survive: a heavily corrected copy at Princeton, and a fair copy with one correction in the Getty Library.

Production History

The painting that doubles the sonnet, and that called forth the later text, occupied DGR's attention from the early 50s, and was left unfinished at his death. He referred to it from time to time under various titles, including Lost, The Drover, and The Bridge. He was vigorously at work on the picture again in January and February 1881, which was the impetus for writing the sonnet, and he seems to have believed he would complete it. But he did not.

Printing History

The sonnet was first printed in the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets and collected thereafter.


The sentimental literature dealing with this poem's subject is very large. A classic point of reference is Goldsmith, The Deserted Village, lines 325-336. DGR's early narrative “Jenny” is obviously the closest literary point of reference.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 7-1881.s64.raw.xml