Lady Lilith

Alternately titled: Eden Bower

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

1863-64 (circa) or 1869 (circa)

Physical Description

Medium: pen and ink and pencil with pencilled background
Dimensions: 22 x 18.4 cm
Other production information determined from the object: WMR's note on verso reads: “By Gabriel-c.1869-Eden Bower.”

Production Description

Production Date: 1863-64 (circa) or 1869 (circa)


Current Location: William E. Fredeman
Archival History: Mrs. Imogen Dennis; William E Fredeman January 30, 1974

Scholarly Commentary


The sketch illustrates a key element of DGR's poem Eden Bower : Lilith's erotic relation to the serpent. The phallic character of the imagery scarcely needs to be mentioned.

As part of a double work of art, the picture is uncommon because it was made for the poem; normally DGR wrote his poems to illustrate his pictures.

Production History

The drawing may have been executed at the time DGR wrote the poem; but it might just as well belong to 1863-1864, when (according to Robert Browning) DGR executed a picture on this subject. Whether he had any thought to elaborate the sketch further is unknown.


The drawing was made as a pictorial companion to DGR's poem Eden Bower .


Lady Lilith
Description: The serpent is coiled about the nude figure of Lilith. Its head rests at her throat and is caressed by her right hand, while her left embraces its lower coils. Fredeman indicates that the item has “nothing in common with Lady Lilith ,” but DGR likely intended the present doublework to reflect and refract the treatment of the Lilith myth found in the earlier Lady Lilith/Body's Beauty pairing.
Copyright: ©Robin Alston
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: f30.rap.xml