Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, An Illustrated Memorial of His Art and Life
Author: H. C. Marillier
Date of publication: 1899
Publisher: George Bell and Sons
Printer: Chiswick Press, Charles Whittingham and Co.

The full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.

page: [cover]
Note: Text is printed in gold lettering with an inverted triangle of decorative foliage below it.
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI
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Note: Inside the front cover is a bookplate which reads “ex libris W. L. Phillips.”
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DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI



page: [ii verso]
IN AN ARTIST'S STUDIO


BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

December, 1856

  • ONE face looks out from all his canvases,
  • One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:
  • We found her hidden just behind those screens,
  • That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
  • A queen in opal or in ruby dress,
  • A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,
  • A saint, an angel—every canvas means
  • The one same meaning, neither more nor less.
  • He feeds upon her face by day and night,
  • 10 And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,
  • Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:
  • Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
  • Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
  • Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.
page: [iii recto]
Note: blank page
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DGR by Watts

G.F. Watts, pinxit. Swan Electric Engraving C o.

D G Rossetti

By permission of M r. Frederick Hollyer

Figure: Sepia tone half-length portrait of a mature Dante Gabriel Rossetti with his head turned slightly towards his right. Marillier reproduces a facsimile of DGR's autograph below this picture.





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Note: onion-skin page
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Note: Rossetti's name is printed in red ink.
DANTE GABRIEL

ROSSETTI

AN ILLUSTRATED MEMORIAL OF HIS

ART AND LIFE



by

H. C. MARILLIER

 



George Bell & Sons

Figure: Imprint of George Bell & Sons publishers.







LONDON

GEORGE BELL AND SONS


1899

page: [iv verso]


CHISWICK PRESS:—CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.

TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.
page: v
PREFACE
HAVING been asked more than once if I was compiling a life of Rossetti, I think it well to disclaim at the outset any such presumptuous intention. A life of Rossetti, in the full sense of the word, could only be written by one who was intimately and sympathetically associated with his work during the major portion of his career; and of the very few who could have undertaken the task some are no longer alive, whilst others have either abandoned or postponed it until too late. For this reason we can hardly expect now to have a life of this great and most original genius, written by anyone with enough knowledge to interpret his many-coloured personality, yet sufficiently disinterested to form a critical estimate of his true position and influence.
Biographical works and data there are in profusion. The admirably conscientious labours of Mr. William Michael Rossetti have resulted in placing before the public copious records of the painter's external life, and of his private life as well so far as it is revealed in letters to the members of his family. What these do not give us is the man in relation to his work, and what they do give us is not always strictly important. Nevertheless they constitute the most valuable body of materials yet published, and no biographer could affect to disregard them. They have been supplemented recently by the publication of Ruskin's letters to Rossetti and Rossetti's letters to William Allingham, both immensely interesting to students of the subject, but not by any means exhaustive of the periods they cover. The only other sources of information that seem to me worth mentioning are Mr. William Sharp's memoir, which would have been better had it been less hastily compiled; Mr. Joseph Knight's little volume in the “Great Writers” series, dealing chiefly with the poems; Mr. W. M. Rossetti's chronological record called “ Dante Gabriel Rossetti as Designer and Writer”; William Bell Scott's “ Autobiographical Notes,” compiled when the author
page: vi
was too much embittered to write fairly; and Mr. F. G. Stephens's handy monograph in the “Portfolio” series . In addition might be mentioned Mr. Watts-Dunton's article in the “Encyclopædia Brittanica.” There are of course many other books, and much periodical literature dealing with Rossetti, but, with the single exception of Mr. Holman Hunt's articles in the “Contemporary" of 1886 on the “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,” these are not of great account. One or two who claim to have written with intimate knowledge of their subject labour under the disadvantage of not having known Rossetti until the latter clouded years of his life, when his vigour and health were impaired, and he had apparently lost the power of personal discrimination.
Of the materials which I have mentioned it would be ungrateful to complain, seeing that as occasion demanded I have used or borrowed from most of them. I must, however, say that careful research has not always tended to confirm the information they afforded, and I may claim, I think, for this memoir that it will be found correct on many points where errors previously existed. Three of the above-named authorities, Mr. Sharp, Mr. Knight, and Mr. W. M. Rossetti, have published catalogues or lists of Rossetti's pictures, giving dates and a few other scanty particulars. Mr. Rossetti's list is certainly by far the best of these, though not itself complete, the two earlier ones being almost useless now for purposes of reference. I say this with no intention of disparagement, for Mr. Sharp's list was a wonderful one to have compiled in the time allowed him; and he had no previous data to work on, whereas I have had three lists to collate and check, and possibly better opportunities of acquiring information. In addition I have received much help with some of the more tangled problems both from Mr. Rossetti and from Mr. Fairfax Murray, the latter of whom is recognized as an expert in all matters connected with Rossetti's work. To Mr. Murray moreover I am indebted for kindly checking the list of works and dates which appears as an appendix to this volume, as well as for revising some of the proofs. What use I have made of the assistance so generously given is my own affair, and for this I alone am answerable. In acknowledging the benefit I do not wish to alienate the responsibility.
What I have aimed at chiefly is to interweave a simple account of the painter's life with a detailed chronological record of his artistic work. In this way, by following certain broad divisions, a fairly continuous narrative is made possible without jumbling up
page: vii
pictures and incidents too confusedly. In dealing with the pictures in the text I have followed a system which I think should be found useful, as I myself have found the lack of it in other books somewhat irritating; namely, I have grouped under the first, or sometimes under the most important version of any particular subject, a list of all the other versions and replicas which exist of it. These versions and replicas are then referred to again briefly or in detail as may be under the different years to which they belong. Some such system is absolutely necessary in dealing with Rossetti's work, for the multitude of replicas and variants is bewildering, and most of the errors which I have encountered have been due to confusion arising on this account. As an instance of the kind of tangle met with, who could foresee such a confusion of dates and pictures as exists in the case of the Proserpine subject, or (without personal knowledge of the facts) understand the complicated changes in the history of the Dante and Beatrice panels, given in this book, I believe, for the first time.
Whilst trying to compile a record of Rossetti's work which should be comprehensive, accurate, and useful as a work of reference, I have not forgotten that essentially it was a picture book that was wanted. In respect of the illustrations, moreover, I can speak with greater freedom; and first, it is pleasant to acknowlege that almost without exception the owners of Rossetti's pictures have courteously allowed them to be reproduced, and have given special facilities for photographing them. In some cases this was no ordinary politeness, but a very generous concession, involving a violation of fixed principles. Mr. Rae, it is well known, has for many years disapproved most strongly of indiscriminate reproduction, and has refused all applications to let his pictures be photographed for such a purpose, the only exceptions being when he allowed Mr. Quilter to reproduce The Blue Closet in “Preferences,” and Mr. Stephens to include a few small subjects in his already mentioned monograph done for “ The Portfolio.” I cannot, therefore, express my obligation to him sufficiently strongly for placing his magnificent collection at my disposal, and allowing me to reproduce eleven of his pictures; namely, The Beloved , Sibylla Palmifera , Monna Vanna , Venus Verticordia , The Damsel of the Sanc Grael (both the large oil and the little water-colour), The Blue Closet , The Wedding of St. George , The Tune of Seven Towers , the early pen-and-ink diptych of Il Saluto di Beatrice , and the beautiful crayon head of a Magdalen . Mr. Beresford Heaton, whose objections were almost
page: viii
equally invincible, has at the last moment allowed me to include the charming early water-colour Dante's Dream and The Vision of Rachel and Leah from his collection. Mr. Fairfax Murray has been not less generous in allowing his drawings to be reproduced than in helping me with facts, and though there are one or two treasures that he has withheld for special reasons, I am indebted to him for permission to include The Merciless Lady , Dr. Johnson at the Mitre , The Laboratory , Bonifazio's Mistress , with the pen-and-ink study , A Fight for a Woman , the early sketch called Genevieve , a pencil drawing for Mary in the House of John , and several minor items, including some designs for pictures never reproduced before. Mr. Watts-Dunton has allowed me to include The Spirit of the Rainbow , Rossetti's one nude figure, which has never before been given, as well as his Reverie , Pandora , and another drawing. Mr. Wells, R.A., has contributed two interesting portraits of Miss Siddal [portrait 1] [portrait 2] and the water-colour Beatrice denying the Salutation —the companion drawing to which (in point of date and history), viz., Giotto painting Dante's Portrait , has been lent by its present owner, Mr. John Aird, M.P. Other owners who have obligingly given me access to their pictures, and have in one or two cases even sent them to London to be photographed, are Mr. W. R. Moss, Mr. S. Pepys Cockerell, Mr. Francis Buxton, Mr. Charles Butler, Mrs. Jekyll, Lord Battersea and Overstrand, Mr. William Imrie, Mrs. Clarence Fry, Mr. Trist, Mrs. Coronio, Mr. Constantine Ionides, Mrs. A. Ionides, Sir Cuthbert Quilter, Prof. C. E. Norton, Mr. T. H. Leathart, Mr. F. J. Tennant, Mr. Russell Rea, Mr. S. E. Spring-Rice, Mr. A. T. Squarey, the Rev. S. A. Donaldson, Mr. William Dunlop, Mr. Charles Ricketts, Dr. Spence Watson, Mr. Arthur Severn, Mr. Cosmo Monkhouse, Mrs. Constance Churchill, the Hon. Percy Wyndham, Sir Henry Acland, Dr. H. A. Munro, and the Corporation Art Galleries of Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool. Mr. Rossetti has given me practically a free hand in the reproduction of family portraits and drawings belonging to him, and has also allowed me to use many of the negatives of pictures that were specially made for his brother, sometimes before alterations of a disastrous kind had been undertaken. To Mr. Frederick Hollyer, Mr. Caswall Smith, and the Autotype Company, I owe an expression of thanks for generously giving me the use of many of their copyright negatives, and to Messrs. Macmillan no less for the right to reproduce the five wood-blocks [block 1] [block 2] [block 3] [block 4] [block 5] done for Moxon's “Tennyson” and two others [plate 1] [plate 2] from Miss Christina Rossetti's books. Messrs.
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Sig. b1
Sotheran, Mr. Duckworth, and the editor of the “Pall Mall Magazine” have kindly lent me various blocks or plates, and, finally, Messrs. Cassell have my thanks for allowing two pictures to be reproduced from the “Magazine of Art.”
With a few rare exceptions, owing to owners' refusals, or in the case of The Blue Bower and The Blessed Damozel from the pictures being held in trust, there is scarcely a work of individual importance by Rossetti which will not be found illustrated in this book or in some way represented. In general, moreover, where a choice existed, it is the best version of each particular subject from which the reproduction has been made, though there are cases where this was not possible, owing to the pictures having gone abroad or become untraceable. It would hardly be believed how difficult Rossetti's pictures are to find since their dispersal after the great Graham, Leyland, Turner, Ruston, and Leathart sales. Even with the kind help of Mr. Croal Thomson and Messrs. Agnew there are many that I have not located, though I have been fortunate in borrowing private photographs of some of these and published prints of others. No doubt the constantly increasing value of Rossetti's works is partly responsible for their restlessness, but there is something almost melancholy in the way that they seem perpetually to change hands. The Rae and Heaton collections are almost the only ones of importance that have remained intact. Mr. Ruskin, who at one time had quite a number of good water-colours, has parted with all but the unfinished Passover , and no one seems to know where some of them have gone. The Boyce collection has shared the same fate, though in this case the bulk of it has passed into the hands of Mr. Murray, who amid the maelstrom of flux and change has constituted himself a sort of natural vortex or harbour of refuge.
This is one of the circumstances which has made the illustration of a book on Rossetti not altogether easy, and which may have prevented its being undertaken before. Even now I am conscious of many omissions and failures, which mar the completeness of the work. But it is no part of an author's duty to specify these for his readers, most of whom will be ready enough to find them, and perfectly candid in pointing them out.
H. C. M.
page: x
 

Dantis Amor

DESIGN FOR DANTIS AMOR, PAINTED BETWEEN THE DANTE AND BEATRICE PANELS, 1866. See page 89.

Figure: Pencil. Inscribed at top: "IX JVN: MCCXC." Inscribed at bottom: "QUOMODO SEDET SOLA CIVITAS." Oblong outline, framing the shape of the angels' wings and coming to a point above his head and beneath his feet. An angel, "Love," stands holding a clock and a down-turned torch.





page: xi
INDEX OF CHAPTERS.

page: [xii]
Note: blank page
page: xiii
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

[ The Reproductions are the Work of the Swan Electric Engraving Company .]

  • D. G. ROSSETTI, BY G. F. WATTS ( Photogravure) . . . . . . Frontispiece

    ( By permission of Mr. F. Hollyer.)
  • DESIGN FOR DANTIS AMOR, 1865-6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . x

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • GABRIELE ROSSETTI. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • MRS. ROSSETTI. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • D. G. ROSSETTI, 1847 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

    ( From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. )
  • CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, 1852 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • THE GIRLHOOD OF MARY VIRGIN ( Photogravure) . . . . . facing 16

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCY ( Sketch). . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 17

    ( By permission of Mr. J. A. R. Munro.)
  • RETRO ME SATHANA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 17

    ( By permission of Dr. Munro.)
  • GENEVIEVE. FROM COLERIDGE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 22

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • GRETCHEN AND MEPHISTOPHELES ( Two designs). . . . . . . . . facing 24 [design 1] [design 2]

    ( By permission of Dr. Munro.)
  • ECCE ANCILLA DOMINI. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 26

    ( From the picture in the National Gallery.)
  • “HIST! SAID KATE THE QUEEN”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 32

    ( By permission of Mr. S. E. Spring-Rice.)
  • HEAD FROM “KATE THE QUEEN” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • page: xiv
  • THE LABORATORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 34

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • BENEDICK AND BEATRICE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

    ( In the possession of the author.)
  • DANTE DRAWING THE ANGEL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 36

    ( By permission of The Taylorian Museum.)
  • BEATRICE DENYING HER SALUTATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 36

    ( By permission of Mr. H. T. Wells, R.A.)
  • MISS SIDDAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

    ( By permission of Mr. H. T. Wells, R.A.)
  • BORGIA ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 38

    ( By permission of Mr. L. Hacon.)
  • HOW THEY MET THEMSELVES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 39

    ( By permission of Mr. S. Pepys Cockerell.)
  • GIOTTO PAINTING DANTE'S PORTRAIT ( Photogravure). . . . . . facing 40

    ( By permission of Mr. John Aird, M.P.)
  • HESTERNA ROSA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 41

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • GIRL PLAYING A LUTE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

    ( By permission of Mrs. Constance Churchill.)
  • STUDY FOR “FOUND”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • “FOUND” ( Photogravure). . . . . . . . . . . . facing 44

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • HEAD FOR “FOUND” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

    ( From a photograph by The Autotype Company.)
  • SKETCH OF MISS SIDDAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • MISS SIDDAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 50

    ( From a drawing at South Kensington.)
  • ROBERT BROWNING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 52

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • THE QUEST OF THE GRAIL (BY MISS SIDDAL). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

    ( By permission of Mr. Arthur Severn.)
  • THE WOEFUL VICTORY (BY MISS SIDDAL) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • MISS SIDDAL BEFORE AN EASEL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 58

    ( By permission of Mr. H. T. Wells, R.A.)
  • page: xv
    Note: Typo in listing of "PAOLO AND FRANCESCO. Diptych": "FRANCESCO" should be "FRANCESCA." This illustration is properly marked in the body of the text.
  • ROSSETTI SITTING TO MISS SIDDAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • MISS SIDDAL, OCT. 1856 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • KING ARTHUR'S TOMB ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 60

    ( By permission of Mr. S. Pepys Cockerell.)
  • D. G. ROSSETTI, 1855 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • DESIGN FOR PICTURE—Unexecuted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • DESIGN FOR PICTURE—Unexecuted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • DESIGN FOR A BALLAD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

    ( By permission of Mr. J. P. Heseltine.)
  • PAOLO AND FRANCESCO. Diptych . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 66

    ( By permission of Mr. T. H. Leathart.)
  • DANTE'S VISION OF RACHEL AND LEAH. . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 66

    ( By permission of Mr. Beresford Heaton.)
  • STUDY FOR RACHEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • TWO DESIGNS FOR THE PASSOVER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 68 [design 1] [design 2]

    ( By permission of Sir Henry Acland, Bart.)
  • TENNYSON READING “MAUD” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

    ( By permission of Mr. Cosmo Monkhouse.)
  • “THE MAIDS OF ELFEN-MERE” ( Woodcut). . . . . . . . . . . . facing 70

    ( From Allingham'sDay and Night Songs.)
  • DRAWING FOR “THE MAIDS OF ELFEN-MERE”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

    ( By permission of Dr. Spence-Watson.)
  • FRA PACE ( Photogravure). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 72

    ( By permission of Mrs. Jekyll.)
  • DANTE'S DREAM ( Water-colour) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 73

    ( By permission of Mr. Beresford Heaton.)
  • FAUST AND MARGARET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

    ( By permission of Mr. Arthur Hughes.)
  • THE SEED OF DAVID—LLANDAFF TRIPTYCH. . . . . . . . . . . . facing 74

    ( From photographs by F. Hollyer.)
  • FIVE DESIGNS FOR MOXON'S TENNYSON ( Woodcuts). . . . . . . . 76,77,78 [design 1] [design 2] [design 3] [design 4] [design 5]

    ( By permission of Messrs. Macmillan, Ltd.)
  • page: xvi
  • SIR GALAHAD AT THE SHRINE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 78

    ( By permission of The Birmingham Art Gallery.)
  • THE BLUE CLOSET ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 78

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • THE TUNE OF SEVEN TOWERS ( Photogravure). . . . . . . . . . facing 80

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • THE DAMSEL OF THE SANC GRAEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 81

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • THE GATE OF MEMORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • THE WEDDING OF ST. GEORGE ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . facing 82

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • THE GARDEN BOWER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • A CHRISTMAS CAROL ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 84

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray. From a photograph by the Autotype

    Company.
    )
  • “RED LION MARY”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • DESIGN FOR “DANTIS AMOR” 1859. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • THE SALUTATION OF BEATRICE ( Panels). . . . . . . . . . . . facing 86

    ( By permission of Mr. F. J. Tennant. From photographs by F. Hollyer. )
  • STUDY FOR SALUTATION OF BEATRICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

    ( By permission of Mr. W. Rothenstein.)
  • DESIGN FOR OXFORD UNION: LAUNCELOT AT THE SHRINE OF THE

    SANC GRAEL (Copy by H. T. Dunn). . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 90

    ( By permission of Mr. T. Watts-Dunton.)
  • DESIGN FOR OXFORD UNION: SIR GALAHAD RECEIVING THE SANC GRAEL. . . 91

    ( From a drawing in the British Museum.)
  • STUDY FOR GRAIL MAIDEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • STUDY FOR QUEEN GUENEVERE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 92

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • STUDY FOR QUEEN GUENEVERE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • DESIGN FOR OXFORD UNION: LAUNCELOT ESCAPING FROM GUENEVERE'S

    CHAMBER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • page: xvii
    Sig. c
  • ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 94

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • D. G. ROSSETTI (1861). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • HAMLET AND OPHELIA ( Photogravure). . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 96

    ( Plate lent by Messrs. H. Sotheran and Co.)
  • HAMLET AND OPHELIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 97

    ( By permission of Mr. A. T. Squarey.)
  • DESIGN FOR MARY IN THE HOUSE OF JOHN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • MARY MAGDALENE AT THE DOOR OF SIMON ( Photogravure) . . . . facing 98

    ( By permission of Mr. C. Ricketts.)
  • BEFORE THE BATTLE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 100

    ( By permission of Prof. C. E. Norton.)
  • GOLDEN WATER, OR PRINCESS PARISADÉ. . . . . . . . . facing 100

    ( By permission of Mrs. Constance Churchill.)
  • DESIGN FOR “MY LADY GREENSLEEVES”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • “MY LADY GREENSLEEVES” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 102

    ( By permission of Rev. S. A. Donaldson.)
  • BONIFAZIO'S MISTRESS, AND SKETCH FOR SAME. . . . . . . . . facing 102 [sketch]

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • DR. JOHNSON AND THE METHODISTS AT THE MITRE. . . . . . . . facing 104

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • LUCRETIA BORGIA ( First design) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

    ( From a photograph.)
  • LUCRETIA BORGIA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 106

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • LOVE'S GREETING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 106

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • DESIGN FOR “EARLY ITALIAN POETS” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
  • REGINA CORDIUM (MRS. D. G. ROSSETTI) . . . . . . . . . . . facing 108

    ( By permission of Mr. Arthur Severn.)
  • FAIR ROSAMUND. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 108

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • ASPECTA MEDUSA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

    ( By permission of Mrs. A. Ionides.)
  • page: xviii
  • CASSANDRA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 110

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • THE ANNUNCIATION ( Design for panel). . . . . . . . . . . . facing 110

    ( By permission of Mr. W. Dunlop.)
  • ADAM AND EVE: Two designs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112

    ( From windows at St. Martin's, Scarborough.)
  • ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON: ( Six designs) . . . . . . . . . facing 112 [design 1] [design 2] [design 3] [design 4] [design 5] [design 6]

    ( From photographs by F. Hollyer.)
  • TRISTRAM AND YSEULT DRINKING THE LOVE POTION . . . . . . . facing 114

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • KING RENÉ'S HONEYMOON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 114

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • PAOLO AND FRANCESCA ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 116

    ( By permission of Mr. W. R. Moss.)
  • THE CRUCIFIXION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117

    ( Reproduced from “The Magazine of Art”. )
  • GOBLIN MARKET ( Woodcut). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118

    ( By permission of Messrs. Macmillan, Ltd.)
  • TITLE-PAGE FOR THE PRINCE'S PROGRESS ( Woodcut) . . . . . . facing 118

    ( By permission of Messrs. Macmillan, Ltd.)
  • D. G. ROSSETTI ( 1862). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119

    ( From a photograph by Downey.)
  • EXTERIOR: NO. 16, CHEYNE WALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120

    ( From a drawing.)
  • THE GARDEN: NO. 16, CHEYNE WALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

    ( From a photograph.)
  • JOAN OF ARC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • SKETCH FOR BEATA BEATRIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126

    ( By permission of Mr. J. P. Heseltine.)
  • BEATA BEATRIX ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 126

    ( From the picture in the National Gallery.)
  • PREDELLA FOR BEATA BEATRIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129

    ( By permission of Mr. Russell Rea.)
  • HELEN OF TROY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
  • LADY LILITH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 133

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • page: xix
  • HEAD OF LILITH, after the retouching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133

    ( From a photograph by J. Caswall Smith.)
  • VENUS VERTICORDIA ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 134

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • THE MADNESS OF OPHELIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 136

    ( By permission of Mrs. C. E. Lees.)
  • THE MERCILESS LADY ( Photogravure). . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 138

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • WASHING HANDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 139

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • IL RAMOSCELLO. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 139

    ( Reproduced from the “Magazine of Art”. )
  • A FIGHT FOR A WOMAN: STUDY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139

    ( By permission of Mr. C. F. Murray.)
  • THE BELOVED ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 140

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • MONNA VANNA ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 142

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • THE DANCING GIRL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144

    ( By permission of Mr. H. H. Trist.)
  • SIBYLLA PALMIFERA ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 144

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • MICHAEL SCOTT'S WOOING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 145

    ( By permission of Mr. H. H. Trist.)
  • MICHAEL SCOTT'S WOOING ( c. 1848) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

    ( By permission of Mr. J. A. R. Munro.)
  • THE CHRISTMAS CAROL: STUDY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146

    ( By permission of Mrs. Aglaia Coronio.)
  • JOLI CŒUR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 146

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • MONNA ROSA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
  • THE LOVING CUP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 148

    ( From a photograph by J. Caswall Smith.)
  • THE RETURN OF TIBULLUS TO DELIA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 148

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • REVERIE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 150

    ( By permission of Mr. T. Watts-Dunton.)
  • page: xx
  • AUREA CATENA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 150

    ( By permission of Lord Battersea. From a photograph by F. Hollyer. )
  • MRS. STILLMAN (MISS MARIE SPARTALI). . . . . . . . . . . . facing 152

    ( By permission of Mrs. Stillman.)
  • PENELOPE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 152

    ( By permission of Mr. T. H. Leathart.)
  • THEODORE WATTS, 1874 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155

    ( By permission of Mr. T. Watts-Dunton.)
  • ROSA TRIPLEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • LA DONNA DELLA FIAMMA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 156

    ( By permission of Mrs. C. E. Fry.)
  • SILENCE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157

    ( By permission of Mr. Chas. Rowley.)
  • THE ROSELEAF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • MARIANA ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 158

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • LADY WITH THE FAN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 159

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • THE COUCH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159

    ( By permission of Mr. T. Watts-Dunton.)
  • STUDY: LA DONNA DELLA FINESTRA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • STUDY FOR BEATRICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 160

    ( By permission of Mrs. Aglaia Coronio.)
  • DESIGN FOR “TROY TOWN” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161

    ( By permission of the Hon. P. Wyndham.)
  • THE DEATH OF LADY MACBETH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • PANDORA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 162

    ( By permission of Mr. Charles Butler. From a photograph by the Autotype

    Company.
    )
  • PANDORA, 1879. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164

    ( By permission of Mr. T. Watts-Dunton.)
  • WATER-WILLOW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165

    ( In the possession of Mr. S. Bancroft, Jr.)
  • DANTE'S DREAM ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 166

    ( By permission from the Walker Art Gallery.)
  • page: xxi
  • PREDELLAS FOR DANTE'S DREAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .168

    ( By permission of Mr. W. Imrie.) [Predella 1] [Predella 2]
  • VERONICA VERONESE ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 168

    ( From a photograph by J. Caswall Smith.)
  • DESIGN FOR PÆTUS AND ARRIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • THE BOWER MEADOW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 170

    ( By permission of Mr. William Dunlop.)
  • LA GHIRLANDATA: STUDY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 172

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • PROSERPINE ( Photogravure). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 174

    ( By permission of Mr. Chas. Butler. From a photograph by the Autotype

    Company.
    )
  • THE DAMSEL OF THE SANC GRAEL ( Photogravure). . . . . . . . facing 176

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • THE ROMAN WIDOW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 177

    ( From a photograph by J. Caswall Smith.)
  • THE BOAT OF LOVE ( Grisaille) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177

    ( By permission from the Birmingham Art Gallery. )
  • CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, 1866 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 180

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • MRS. AND MISS CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, 1877 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181

    ( From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. )
  • SUPPOSED DESIGN FOR “THE BRIDE'S PRELUDE”. . . . . . . . . . . . . 183

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • LA BELLA MANO ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 184

    ( By permission of Sir Cuthbert Quilter, Bart.)
  • THE QUESTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 186

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company.)
  • THE BLESSED DAMOZEL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 188

    ( From a photograph by J. Caswall Smith.)
  • STUDIES FOR “LOVERS” ( Two Designs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189

    ( From a photograph by the Autotype Company. ) [study 1] [study 2]
  • MNEMOSYNE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190

    ( From a photograph by J. Caswall Smith.)
  • THE BLESSED DAMOZEL: STUDY, 1875 ( Photogravure). . . . . . facing 190

    ( Plate lent by Mr. Duckworth.)
  • THE SPIRIT OF THE RAINBOW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 191

    ( By permission of Mr. T. Watts-Dunton.)
  • page: xxii
  • HEAD OF A MAGDALEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192

    ( By permission of Mr. George Rae.)
  • ASTARTE SYRIACA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 192

    ( By permission from the Manchester Art Gallery. )
  • A VISION OF FIAMMETTA ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . facing 194

    ( By permission of Mr. Chas. Butler. From a photograph by the Autotype

    Company.
    )
  • THE SEA SPELL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 194

    ( From a photograph by J. Caswall Smith.)
  • DESDEMONA'S DEATH-SONG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • LA DONNA DELLA FINESTRA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 196

    ( From a photograph by F. Hollyer.)
  • SANCTA LILIAS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
  • THE DAY-DREAM ( Photogravure) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 198

    ( By permission of Mr. Constantine Ionides.)
  • DESIGN FOR THE SONNET. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 199

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • THE SALUTATION OF BEATRICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 200

    ( By permission of Sir J. C. Holder.)
  • THE SALUTATION OF BEATRICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201

    ( By permission of Mr. Joseph Dixon.)
  • LA PIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 202

    ( From a photograph by J. Caswall Smith.)
  • ROSSETTI'S GRAVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
  • EARLY DRAWING: ROCKING-HORSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • EARLY DRAWING: DORMOUSE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • EARLY DRAWING: ILLUSTRATIONS TO HOMER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.) [illustration 1] [illustration 2] [illustration 3]
  • EARLY DRAWING: ILLUSTRATIONS TO FOUR STORIES . . . . . . . . . . . 213

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • EARLY DRAWING: ILLUSTRATION TO “SORRENTINO”. . . . . . . . . . . . 214

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • EARLY LITHOGRAPH: JULIETTE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . facing 214

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • EARLY LITHOGRAPH: TWO DESIGNS FOR PLAYING CARDS. . . . . . . . . .214 [design 1] [design 2]

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • page: xxiii
  • EARLY DRAWING: CHAMBERMAID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • CARICATURE: J. E. MILLAIS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • CARICATURE: D. G. AND W. M. ROSSETTI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • CARICATURE: THE RESULTS OF “UNCLE TOM'S CABIN”. . . . . . . . . . 218 [caricature 1] [caricature 2]

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • CARICATURE: “STUNNER NO. 1”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • WRITING ON THE SAND. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219

    ( From a drawing in the British Museum.)
  • HUMOROUS SKETCH: DANTE AND HIS CIRCLE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
  • SPECIMENS OF HANDWRITING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .222-3 [specimen 1] [specimen 2] [specimen 3]
  • ROSSETTI'S STUDIO. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224

    ( From a sketch by H. Treffry Dunn.)
  • THE DRAWING-ROOM: NO. 16, CHEYNE WALK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225

    ( From a sketch by H. Treffry Dunn.)
  • ROSSETTI'S BED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226

    ( From a sketch by H. Treffry Dunn.)
  • ROSSETTI AND MR. THEODORE WATTS IN THE DINING-ROOM AT NO. 16,

    CHEYNE WALK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227

    ( From a sketch by H. Treffry Dunn.)
  • THE GREAT SEAL AT THE ZOO. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

    ( By permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.)
page: [xxiv]
Note: blank page
page: 1
Sig. B
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY
DANTE GABRIEL, or, to give him his full christening name, Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti, was born on May 12th, 1828, at No. 38, Charlotte Street, Portland Place, and was the second of four children, all born in successive years. His  

Gabriele Rossetti

Gabriele Rossetti

Figure: Oil painting. Head and shoulders portrait of Gabriele Rossetti with his head turned slightly to his right.



parentage and family life have been so copiously dealt with already in the “ Memoir” compiled by his brother, Mr. William Michael Rossetti, that there is no need here to do more than recapitulate the main facts. Gabriele Rossetti, the father of Dante Gabriel, was a native of the city of Vasto, in the province of Abruzzi, on the Adriatic coast of what was once the kingdom of Naples. He was a man of superior literary ability and force of character, at one time custodian of bronzes at the Naples Museum, who made himself obnoxious to the Bourbon King Ferdinand during the suppression of the constitution in 1821, and was in consequence proscribed and obliged to fly for safety. Assisted by a British man-of-war in escaping to Malta, Gabriele Rossetti remained there for some time,
page: 2
practising as an instructor in his native language, until further annoyance drove him in 1824 to England. Here he settled, and some years later obtained an appointment as Professor of Italian at King's College. Meantime, in 1826, he had married a daughter of Gaetano Polidori, for some while secretary to the notable Count Alfieri, and father also of that strange being, Dr. John Polidori, who travelled with Byron as his physician, and committed suicide in 1821. Gaetano Polidori's wife, Rossetti's grandmother, was an Englishwoman, whose maiden name was Pierce. To his parentage the young Dante Gabriel was indebted for much, but especially to his  

Mrs. Gabriele Rossetti

Mrs. Rossetti.

Figure: Chalk and pencil. Inscribed lower left: "Feb/62." Drawing of head and shoulders, nearly in profile to right, wearing a white pleated muslin bonnet; on either side a streamer falls forward over the shoulders.Surtees, 187



mother. One can judge to this day of the latter's quiet sensible character, and deep religious instincts, from the portraits left us by her son, of which one is reproduced here as typical. But, besides these qualities, she possessed good literary and artistic judgment, shrewd knowledge of human nature, and a fund of common sense which must have effectually prevented the somewhat mystical spirit pervading the thoughts of her young family from deteriorating into morbid and unhealthy channels. Between D. G. Rossetti and his mother the warmest and most affectionate relations prevailed, relations that were only severed by the former's untimely death on April 9th, 1882. Mrs. Rossetti survived her son exactly four years
page: 3
to the very day. Her husband had died in April, 1854, honoured as a patriot in his native land with a memorial statue 1 and a medal commemorating his services. Their elder daughter, Maria, departed this life in 1876, and in December, 1894, Christina Rossetti also died, leaving as sole survivor of this brilliant family the younger son, William Michael, well known as a writer of critiques on art and as the biographer of his more famous brother.
Albeit English in its main external features, the environment of the Rossetti family in London remained essentially Italian during the lifetime of Gabriele Rossetti. Their house was the resort of all classes of Italians passing through or resident in town. Musicians and literary men met there with revolutionaries fresh from the wasting struggle for Italian liberty. A romantic odour of assassination hung round one at least of the regular habitués of the house, and added spice to the somewhat fusty atmosphere of the father's own particular studies. Gabriele Rossetti was a commentator on Dante, and himself a writer of verse, mainly in a politico-satirical vein. He had a gift for declamation and improvization, which is not so uncommon in men of his nationality as of ours; but the exposition of Dante was his chief occupation, as well as the one by which he is now best known. To the ears of the young Gabriel, familiarized by habit with the sonorous metres of the “Inferno” and “Paradiso,” the name of Dante for many years conjured up no very stimulating thoughts. It was not until he had begun himself in early life to read upon his own lines, that the pictorial richness and splendour of the Florentine dawned on him and seized him with its spell. There is a sketch by Rossetti of his father, engaged upon his labours of interpretation, and surrounded, as Mr. W. M. Rossetti has described him, by heavy folios in italic type, his “libri mistici,” full of the lore of Swedenborg, alchemy, and Brahminism, with the aid of which he is devotedly burying the poetry of his subject beneath unprofitable layers of teleological symbolism. “The ‘Convito,’ ” says his son, “was always a name of dread to us, as being the very essence of arid unreadableness,” an interesting fact to remember when dealing, as we shall presently have to do, with the influence which Dante was destined afterwards to exert upon two members at least of the family.
Before passing to the early life of Gabriel Rossetti, a pair of independent descriptions of the household and surroundings of No. 50, Charlotte Street, whither the family removed from No. 38 in
Transcribed Footnote (page 3):

1The statue, I understand, has not yet been erected, but is still in contemplation.

page: 4
1836, may not be without interest, though to some they will not be new.
Mr. William Bell Scott, in his “Autobiographical Notes,” says, “I entered the small front parlour or dining-room of the house, and found an old gentleman sitting by the fire in a great chair, the table drawn close to his chair, with a thick MS. book open before him, and the largest snuff-box I ever saw beside it conveniently open. He had a black cap on his head furnished with a great peak or shade for the eyes, so that I only saw his face partially.” This description tallies in a remarkable way with the drawing of his father just mentioned, done by Dante Gabriel in 1853, though otherwise not remarkable for insight or fullness of detail. A more interesting picture is one by Mr. F. G. Stephens, Rossetti's early associate, quoted from his “ Portfolio” monograph:

“As might be expected of one possessing so many accomplishments, and whose career was marked by so much courage, the professor was a man of striking character and aspect. . . . To a youngster, such as I was, he seemed much older than his years, and while seated reading at a table with two candles behind him, and, because his sight was failing, with a wide shade over his eyes, he looked a very Rembrandt come to life. . . . Near his side, but beyond the radiant circle of the candles,—her erect, comely, and very English form and face remarkable for its noble and beautiful matronhood, sat Mrs. Rossetti, the mother of Dante Gabriel. He too, leaning his elbows upon the table and holding his face between both hands so that the long curling masses of his dark brown hair fell forward, sat on the other side, his attenuated features outlined by the candle's light.”

Reared in this studious atmosphere, it is not to be wondered at that the young Rossettis early took to literature. Before they were six years old they had made acquaintance with Shakespeare and Scott, in addition to the usual works of childhood, and were steeped in romance of a more lofty kind than is common at such an age. A healthy crudity of taste and strong boyish proclivities, together with the influence of his mother, prevented this precocity from developing into priggishness in the case of the youthful Gabriel, whose letters, even up to his sixteenth or seventeenth year, are as remarkable for naïve simplicity as for their rather florid style and sonorous diction. They are also marked by an early sense of humour. How many children of fourteen are there who possess the power of expression, to say nothing of the critical observation, shown by this juvenile specimen of Gabriel's domestic correspondence.
page: 5
“CHALFONT ST.-GILES,

Thursday, 1 Sept., 1842.

“MY DEAR MAMMA,

“We arrived safely at Chalfront at 12 o'clock yesterday. The village is larger than I expected. The first thing we did on our arrival was to demolish bread and butter, of which I at least was much in want. We then, with considerable difficulty, opened Uncle Henry's trunks, and after depositing a portion of their contents in a chest of drawers, sallied forth to reconnoitre. I saw Milton's house, which is unquestionably the ugliest and dirtiest building in the whole village. 1 It is now occupied by a tailor. . . .

“Yesterday I commenced reading ‘The Infidel's Doom,’ by Dr. Birch, which work forms part and parcel of Uncle Henry's library. However, I have abandoned the task in despair. I then began ‘ The Castle of Otranto,’ which shared the same fate, and am now engaged on Defoe's ‘ History of the Plague.’ This morning we deposited Uncle Henry's books in a closet in Uncle Henry's bedroom, which, in common with all the other closets in this house, possesses a lock but no key.

“I do not think that I shall go to church on Sunday, for in the first place I do not know where I can sit, and in the second place I find we are so stared at wherever we go that I do not much relish the idea of sitting for two hours the loadstone of attraction in the very centre of the aborigines, on whose minds curiosity seems to have taken strong hold. . . . I ‘in longing expectation wait’ the appearance of my dinner; for which, however, I need not yet look, since it is now nearly three o'clock, which is the nominal dinner hour, but, the fire having gone out, Uncle Henry prophesies that it will not come till 4.

“I remain, dear Mamma,

“Your affectionate son,

“GABRIEL ROSSETTI”
Of Rossetti's early literary efforts it is sufficient to mention two: “ The Slave,” a bombastic drama in blank verse, which occupied his faculties at the age of five, and is chiefly remarkable in that connection (though the correctness of spelling and versification is extraordinary), and “ Sir Hugh the Heron”, a legendary poem
Transcribed Footnote (page 5):

1For the credit of Chalfont it may be mentioned that Milton's house has, since the date of this letter, been acquired for the nation and put in proper order.

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founded on a tale by Allan Cunningham. The latter, a more ambitious effort, written when he was twelve, was privately printed by his grandfather, Gaetano Polidori, and a copy exists in the British Museum. This fact was in after years rather a source of dread to Rossetti, who feared that some meticulous compiler might light upon the curiosity and include it in his published works, as to which he was morbidly scrupulous. These two productions do not sum up the juvenile work of Rossetti, of which a record has been kept, but they are quite as much as it is fair to mention, and serve sufficiently to show the romantic drift of his earliest ideas. In art he was scarcely less precocious, a pretty story being told of a milkman, who came upon him in the passage sketching his rocking-horse, and who testified his surprise at having seen “a baby making a picture.”Drawings of this date exist, and also later ones done when he was in the habit of preparing illustrations for books he read and for his own romances. 1 In point of quality, however, these juvenile sketches are not to be compared with those of many masters of the brush who began early, for example with those of Millais, a veritable infant prodigy, and are chiefly interesting in connection with a statement of his brother that “he could not remember any date at which it was not an understood thing in the family that Gabriel was to be a painter.”
In 1837, after a short preliminary training at a private school, Dante Gabriel and his brother were admitted to King's College, where their father was Italian professor. Here the former remained for four or five years, acquiring a fair knowledge of Latin and French, with a smattering of Greek. German he learnt just well enough to enter upon a study of the wonderful literature of that language, and Italian, of course, came naturally to him. The drawing-master at King's College was the celebrated Cotman, of Norwich, from whom, however, he derived little or no instruction.His artistic training did not begin until 1842, when he left school, 2 and entered himself at a drawing academy known in those days as “Sass's,” and kept by Mr. F. S. Cary, son of the translator of Dante.
As a schoolboy, Dante Gabriel is described by those who knew him as a boy of gentle and affectionate nature, but singularly masterful as well. He himself confessed to recollections of a want of hardihood and a dislike for active games and exercise. The
Transcribed Footnote (page 6):

1Several of these relics of his childish days will be found reproduced in a supplementary chapter at the end of the book.

Transcribed Footnote (page 6):

2This is the date usually given. Mr. W. M. Rossetti now thinks it should be 1841.

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latter defect haunted him through life. He took little exercise at any time but walking, and suffered in consequence, as he was prone to admit, from some of the physical and mental disadvantages attendant upon a sedentary habit.
To return to his artistic life, Gabriel Rossetti remained some four years at Cary's Academy, during which period he seems to have acquired the bare rudiments of his art and to have made a small reputation for eccentricity. In July, 1846, having sent in the requisite probation-drawings, he was admitted to the Antique School of the Royal Academy. His first appearance is thus graphically delineated by a fellow-student, whose observant eye has preserved for us a probably accurate conception of the fiery young enthusiast, impatient of ordinary considerations in the matter of attire, burning with zeal to paint his already vivid imaginings, yet scornful of the routine and drudgery by which it was supposed that masterhood must be acquired. The description, from which the following is an extract, has often been quoted before.

“Thick, beautiful, and closely-curled masses of rich brown much-neglected hair fell about an ample brow, and almost to the wearer's shoulders; strong eyebrows marked with their dark shadows a pair of rather sunken eyes, in which a sort of fire, instinct with what may be called proud cynicism, burned with a furtive sort of energy. His rather high cheekbones were the more observable because his cheeks were roseless and hollow enough to indicate the waste of life and midnight oil to which the youth was addicted. Close shaving left bare his very full, not to say sensuous lips, and square-cut masculine chin. Rather below the middle height, and with a slightly rolling gait, Rossetti came forward among his fellows with a jerky step, tossed the falling hair back from his face, and, having both hands in his pockets, faced the student world with an insouciant air which savoured of thorough self-reliance. A bare throat, a falling, ill-kept collar, boots not over familiar with brushes, black and well-worn habiliments, including not the ordinary jacket of the period, but a loose dress-coat which had once been new—these were the outward and visible signs of a mood which cared even less for appearances than the art-student of those days was accustomed to care, which undoubtedly was little enough.”

The clustering masses of hair are shown in the pencil sketch now at the National Portrait Gallery, drawn by himself at the age of nineteen, and reproduced here. The whole description is well
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borne out by Mr. Holman Hunt, in an independent description of Rossetti at about the same date, from which we get the additional particulars that he was of “decidedly foreign aspect;” that he had staring, dreamy eyes, and an aquiline but delicate nose, with a strongly marked depression at the frontal sinus; and that his singularity of gait depended upon the width of hip, which was unusual for a man. Mr. Holman Hunt also dwells upon Rossetti's loud voice and rather blustering manner, which seem at first to have jarred upon his retiring  

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

D.G. Rossetti, 1847.

Figure: Chalk and pencil drawing of head and shoulders. A young D.G.R. with long curling hair faces forward, with his head turned slightly to his left.



disposition. He adds, however, that “anyone who has addressed him was struck with a sudden surprise to find his critical impressions dissipated; for his language was refined and polished, and he proved to be courteous, gentle, and winsome, generous in compliment, and in every respect, so far as could be shown by manner, a cultivated gentleman.” Those who have read Mr. Hunt's affecting account of his own early struggles in the pursuit of art, and realized the picture of himself there given, will easily perceive that there could have been but slight affinity at first, as far as externals were concerned, between
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himself and the buoyant Rossetti, bursting with animal spirits, and carried away by the power of fascination and mastery which he exerted over all who came into contact with him.
As a student in the dry atmosphere of the Academy Antique School Rossetti proved a failure, and never passed to the higher grades of the Life and Painting classes. Conventional methods of study were distasteful to him, and the traditions of the Academy were especially arid and cramping to the imagination. It will be necessary later on to give some description of the state into which the art of painting had fallen in England before the fresh minds of the young and romantic school, breaking away under Rossetti's leadership, caused such a turmoil and revolution; but in the meantime, at the period we are dealing with, it is probably correct to say that Rossetti grew tired of, rather than disapproved of, the teaching in the school, that he was full of ideas craving utterance on canvas, and that he wanted to paint before he could properly draw. This impatience caused him to take a momentous and curious step, which certainly entailed harm to him as a technical executant, though it may indirectly have furthered his career as an artist. He decided to throw up the Academy training, and wrote to a painter of whom not many people at that date had heard, but whose work he himself admired, asking to be admitted into his studio as a pupil. This was Ford Madox Brown, and for his own particular needs and line of thought Rossetti could have lighted upon no man more absolutely suitable. Madox Brown was only seven years Rossetti's senior, but he had studied abroad at Ghent, Antwerp, Paris, and Rome, and had exhibited during the early forties some fine cartoon designs for the decoration of the new House of Lords, which—especially the well-known one of Harold's body brought before William the Conqueror —Rossetti had marked out from the rest of the competitive drawings when they were shown to the public in Westminster Hall. The pictures by Brown which Rossetti had seen, and which he mentioned in writing, were the Giaour's Confession , exhibited at the Academy in 1841, Parisina (1845), Our Lady of Saturday Night , and Mary Queen of Scots , of which he remarked “if ever I do anything in art, it will certainly be attributable to a constant study of that work”. This, and other rather florid compliments of the same sort, may well have impressed Madox Brown, who was not accustomed to be complimented, with a shrewd idea that he was being made fun of; and the story has been told how, in a suspicious frame of mind, he armed himself with a stick and went forth to seek his unknown
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correspondent. On arriving at the house he was partly reassured by a door-plate; and the evident sincerity and enthusiasm of the boy himself, when they met, overcame his generous warm-heartedness, and made him agree to take Rossetti into his studio, and to teach him painting, not for a fee, which he declined, but for the sheer pleasure of encountering and training up a sympathetic spirit. So in March 1848, less than two years after his admission to the Antique School, and with a clear two years more ahead of him before he could possibly hope to learn painting by the ordinary course, Rossetti quitted his sicca nutrix, the Academy, and installed himself under Madox Brown's guidance at his studio not very far from the paternal roof in Charlotte Street.
Before following his fortunes further in this direction we must go back over the ground just traversed and note what Rossetti's activities in literature had amounted to during the same period. These are no less than astonishing. To take the greatest first, they include the bulk of the series of verse translations from the early Italian poets, first published in 1861, and afterwards republished under the altered title of “ Dante and his Circle.” Although worked on and revised from time to time, these translations remain in all essentials much as Rossetti compiled them between the years 1845 and 1849, and they rank among the very finest work of the kind in the English language, being no less remarkable for their high poetic qualities than for the subtle dexterity of phrase by which the sound and sense of the originals have been transplanted into a naturally colder tongue. Swinburne, most generous as well as most far-sighted of critics, has expended himself in admiration of these essays in an art in which he himself is so eminent; and they were mostly done by a boy not out of his teens, thrown off in the intervals of a more absorbing occupation, the study of painting. Rossetti's translation of the “Vita Nuova” alone might stand as a monument of industry in such a case, for it breathes a new spirit of language, a voluptuous and exotic style such as has never been excelled for conveying the emotional mysticism and introspective sentiment of a southern lover; but to this he added that great mass of verse translations and sonnets, involving many days and many hours previously spent over musty volumes at the British Museum in search of Italian poets. Even this was not all, for between the same years he began a translation in verse of the Nibelungenlied, the strong passion of which seized hold of him much as it seized hold upon Wagner, and finished a translation of Hartmann von Aue's“Arme Heinrich” , which has been
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thought worthy of a place amongst his collected works. Besides these, in 1847, before he was nineteen years old, he had written his best-known poem, “The Blessed Damozel”, together with several others, including “My Sister's Sleep”, “The Portrait”, and considerable portions of “Ave”, “A Last Confession”, and the “Bride's Prelude”. The performance of these literary efforts is so finished, the sentiment so profound and mature, that one can hardly understand the ambition which kept painting in the foremost place and made poetry the parergon. The ease with which versification came to Rossetti may have blinded him at first to the merits of his work in this art, as happened later in the case of William Morris; but that he was not altogether ignorant of its value is shown by the fact that when he was most in despair over his future he wrote to Leigh Hunt asking for advice on the question of taking up literature as his profession and inclosing some of his early poems. Leigh Hunt's reply is extant, and contains a warm and evidently spontaneous eulogy of Rossetti's poetry, especially of its thoughtful and imaginative qualities; but, it goes on to say, “I need not tell you that poetry, even the very best—nay, the best in this respect is apt to be the worst—is not a thing for a man to live upon while he is in the flesh, however immortal it may render him in spirit.” An inquiry made a little earlier into the prospects of railway telegraphy (!) had proved hardly more promising, though very interesting to record. Rossetti, therefore, was not encouraged to abandon painting as a means of livelihood, and having made the arrangement already described with Madox Brown, settled down with a characteristic mixture of enthusiasm and despair to the pursuit of art. Brown at this time was engaged upon his well-known picture of Wiclif and John of Gaunt . He was too conscientious a painter himself to suppose that anyone could acquire the power of painting without previous drudgery, and shattered any hopes that Rossetti might have cherished in this direction by coupling his permission to copy a picture with insistence on a study of still-life,—tradition says a row of pickle bottles.
Much as he owed to him in the way of instruction and sympathetic encouragement, Rossetti did not remain long in Brown's studio, at all events as a regular attendant, but left him after a few months to share a studio with Holman Hunt. The beginning of this intimacy was curious and typical. On the opening day of the Academy Exhibition (May 1848) Rossetti, says Mr. Hunt,came up boisterously and in loud tongue made me feel very
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confused by declaring that mine was the best picture of the year. The fact that it was from Keats (the picture was for The Eve of St. Agnes) made him extra-enthusiastic, for I think no painter had ever before painted from this wonderful poet, who then, it may scarcely be credited, was little known. Rossetti begged to be allowed to visit Hunt, for at the Academy schools they had barely been acquainted, and some time later called and poured out his trouble about the pickle jars. Hunt considered them sound, in the circumstances, but suggested as a compromise that Rossetti might try to paint one of his own designs, a subject recently contributed to a sketching society,  

Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti, 1852.

Figure: Pencil. Dated right: "Oct/52." 3/4 length oval drawing of Christina leaning her head on her right hand, seated in a chair reading a book on her lap. The sleeves are flounced at the elbows.Surtees, p. 184



and by way of practice might fill in all the still-life first. This proposal was accepted at once, and so with apparent, but probably not actual, fickleness Rossetti once more shifted his ground, and agreed to work for a time with Hunt, sharing for this purpose a studio which the latter had just taken in Cleveland Street, Fitzroy Square. Here (as well as later in a studio which he took for himself at 83 Newman Street) Brown, whose staunch, unalterable friendship continued to the end of Rossetti's life, visited him from time to time, and gave him the benefit of his advice; and here, amid what Mr. Hunt has described as the most dismal and dingy surroundings, Rossetti began to paint his first picture. Up to this time he had done little beyond studies and sketches, including a number of
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portraits, some of which show excellent work. The year 1848 marks his transition artistically from boyhood to adolescence, a gracious adolescence adorned by many qualities that we too often look for in vain in an age of tricky cleverness and pernicious skill; an adolescence in which depth of feeling and height of aspiration transcended the power of accomplishment, and no artificial or showy mannerisms obscured the honest endeavour and deep-set seriousness of purpose that characterized, not him alone, but the whole of the small band of workers with which he presently became associated. The formation of this band, and the painting of Rossetti's first picture, bring us to the story of the now famous Pre-Raphaelite movement, and will more properly serve to begin a new, than to end a preliminary chapter.
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CHAPTER II

THE “PRE-RAPHAELITE BROTHERHOOD”
IN relating afresh the history of the “Pre-Raphaelite” movement, one has many precedents to choose from. According to the point of view selected one may see in it the conscious expression of a great artistic revival, deliberately planned by a body of zealots, and based upon a structure of lofty principles; or one may go to the opposite extreme and regard it merely as an exuberant freak, an irresponsible outburst on the part of a few impulsive youths linked together for one brief moment by a mutual combination of enthusiasm and high spirits. For both of these points of view ample authority might be quoted, and the truth as usual lies somewhere safe between them. For the more emotional and serious aspect of the case we have to thank Mr. Ruskin, who, finding in the work of the men in question qualities and tentative aims such as he himself admired, forthwith, as his manner was, read into it all the high morality of purpose and principle that he conceived appropriate to ideal craftsmanship. On the other hand, there have never lacked writers who from personal dislike, or, it may be, a touch of jealousy, have tried to depreciate both Rossetti's work and his wonderful influence over others. The facts of the case are, it happens, abundantly in evidence. From Mr. Holman Hunt, Mr. F. G. Stephens, Mr. W. M. Rossetti, and from others, who, if not so intimately connected with the movement as these, were at all events in a good position to know about it, we have received separate, and on the whole confirmatory accounts of its origin and aims. No personal feeling or bias any longer obtrudes itself into the matter; we can see the truth, if we will, in a clear perspective, and nothing remains to obscure our vision but the amount of distortion that it may have contracted from impressions formed on writers of the above-mentioned divergent opinions, or from strongly developed artistic sympathies and prejudices.
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The tendency has been on the whole, not unnaturally, to exaggerate the significance, and to over-estimate the importance of the “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,” which after all was but the grain of mustard seed from which a great tree sprung. Looking upon the tree, some are apt to magnify the seed, forgetting what qualities of climate, soil, or accident may have assisted to promote its growth. Those who do so, however, must either not have passed through an impressionable youth themselves, or else have forgotten how naturally at such a budding age men form romantic coteries based upon common friendships, common ideals, and common habits of life. In such associations there is nearly always one dominant personality which gives the tone to the set. A craving for expression, and more particularly for expression in verse, is also a general characteristic. The intellectual standing of the members of such a group is, no doubt, a measure of the value of such expression, but not of its earnestness or motive power, its romantic affinities, or its influence upon the men so brought together. Dozens of “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhoods” are formed every year, at the great schools and at the universities, tracing lineal human descent from the classical age which combined Platonic friendship with an enthusiasm for philosophy. That few or none of them rise to celebrity is not so wonderful as that one should have attained to such celebrity. Accident and circumstance, at least as much as the strong personal qualities of the members of the group, combined to bring this about; and if argument were needed to prove it, beyond the witness of the facts themselves, it would be found in the deprecatory manner in which the leading “Pre-Raphaelites,” and none more than Rossetti, were accustomed to look back on their turbulent, romantic, and on all accounts most interesting past.
The formation of the “Brotherhood” came about in the following way. We have noted the somewhat sudden alliance between Rossetti and Holman Hunt, and their plan of sharing a studio to carry out work in common. Through Hunt, Rossetti had become acquainted with Millais, and had joined, or helped to start, a “Cyclographic Society,” numbering several members, to wit, Thomas Woolner, F. G. Stephens, Walter Deverell, John Hancock the sculptor, James Collinson, William Dennis, J. B. Keene, and some four or five besides. The scheme was for members to contribute drawings to a portfolio which was sent round for all the rest to criticise. Like other institutions based upon mutual candour, this society enjoyed a very brief existence, and was mainly of service in weeding out those
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who had no sympathy with the new ideas which were ripening in Rossetti and his friends from those who had. The final development of these ideas was brought about by a meeting in Millais's home in Gower Street, where the three alighted upon a volume of engravings after the frescoes in the Campo Santo at Pisa. Ruskin has spoken scornfully of this work as “Lasinio's execrable engravings,” but whatever their quality they at least served to show that in the earlier men, who preceded Raphael, there was a feeling for earnest work, a striving after lofty expression, which was worth more as an inspiration than the rigidly mechanical fashion of painting stereotyped subjects which had come into vogue in England. Why this mechanical cult should ever have become grafted on to the ill-used name of Raphael, and shadowed by his stately fame, is a difficult matter to explain, and requires an excursus into the history of European art. Its effect on the teaching of the day, however, is summed up in the following incisive passage by Ruskin:

“We begin, in all probability, by telling the youth of fifteen or sixteen that Nature is full of faults, and that he is to improve her; but that Raphael is perfection, and that the more he copies Raphael the better; that after much copying of Raphael, he is to try what he can do himself in a Raphaelesque, but yet original, manner: that is to say, he is to try to do something very clever, all out of his own head, but yet this clever something is to be properly subjected to Raphaelesque rules, is to have a principal light occupying one-seventh of its space, and a principal shadow occupying one-third of the same; that no two people's heads in the picture are to be turned the same way, and that all the personages represented are to have ideal beauty of the highest order, which ideal beauty consists partly in a Greek outline of nose, partly in proportions expressible in decimal fractions between the lips and chin; but partly also in that degree of improvement which the youth of sixteen is to bestow upon God's work in general.”

This canting and misdirected worship of Raphael by men who had discarded his spirit, and the realization that before Raphael there were painters of lofty aim, may well have determined the title under which the three enthusiasts conspired to band themselves in revolt. From most points of view it was unfortunate. It meant very little in actual fact, it was misleading so far as it did mean anything, and it was responsible for much of the acrimony and abuse which the devoted trio afterwards brought down upon their most meritorious efforts. One curious feature
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The Girlhood of Mary Virgin

The Girlhood of Mary Virgin

Swan Electric Engraving C o.

Figure: Oil. Signed and dated lower left corner: "Dante Gabriele Rossetti P.R.B. 1849." The young Mary, facing to the left and seated in front of her mother, St. Anne, embroiders a white lily on a piece of red cloth. The lily she copies is placed a few feet away atop a pile of books, and is held by a child angel. A trellis runs behind this scene, and behind it St. Joachim reaches upward to prune a running vine. A Dove and the lake of Galilee are behind him.



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La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Early Sketch: La Belle Dame Sans Mercy

Figure: Pen and sepia with pencil, arched top. Monogram and date lower left corner: "April/48." Two whole-length figures in a forest, facing to front. The man stands on the left, looking at the girl while leaning his left arm on the tree behind her. She looks to the front, with her long hair unbound. A dog sits to the man's left.



 

Retro Me Sathana

Retro Me Sathana!

Figure: Pen and ink, arched top. Inscription on shield: "Ex Nocte Dies." Initialled and dated lower right corner: "July 1848." Three full-length figures before a curtain. On the left, a priest gazes at a cross held in his right hand, raising his left hand in blessing above the head of a young woman, who also gazes downward at the cross. A shadowy figure with horns and a tail sneaks up behind them.



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of the matter is that they appear to have possessed between them at this time a comparatively slight acquaintance with pre-Raphaelite pictures, not more, perhaps, than the average intelligent visitor to the National Gallery to-day. Scarcely anywhere in their writings (we must except one article by Mr. F. G. Stephens) do we find praise, or even mention, of most of the great pre-Raphaelite painters. Nothing of Mantegna, Botticelli, Bellini, Orcagna, Fra Angelico, Melozzo, Lippo Lippi, or Piero della Francesca. At a slightly later date Rossetti visited Bruges, and fell in love with Memling; but his letters even then reveal some very crude preferences in art. Whatever was perceived or imagined in the work of the men they decided to follow must have been largely a matter of instinct, backed up by a strong sympathy for the naïve and simple charm of the few early Italian pictures which they had seen. Perhaps the fact that Keats too praised the early painters had something to do with it, for Keats was a beloved idol with all three, most of all with Rossetti, who had rediscovered him on his own account when his poetry was practically dead. In addition, a bond of sympathy may be traced in the fact that the ancient pre-Raphaelites, like these new ones who took their name, had established a revolt from the effete and degraded classicism into which Byzantine art had lapsed. They too had had to seek out nature afresh, by the light of their own genius, and to invent new laws and new styles as a protest against the mechanical system enforced upon them. The precedent showed to our reformers a golden age of painting, crowned with the names of glorious painters, not perhaps held so glorious then as they are to-day, when many persons outside the ranks of art have learnt to love their quaint simplicity and to draw from it the noblest inspirations. It is a mistake to suppose that what Rossetti and his companions admired or sought to imitate in these old masters was the mediæval and primitive style of painting. The mediæval quality proved infectious, no doubt, and may have influenced all more or less at first in the direction of angularity and awkward composition. But there were other causes which also contributed to this. Amongst them may be mentioned an idea that for every scene an actual unidealized room or landscape must be painted, and the figures grouped without reference to arrangement; as well as another that for each figure a definite model must be taken and followed even to the extent of blemishes. This counsel of perfection, if it was ever seriously accepted, was certainly not followed even from the first; but the fact of its proposal shows the austere lines upon which these
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youthful painters proceeded, and helps to explain what many people have found a stumbling-block, the lack of grace and harmony in some of their earliest compositions. What they sought to follow in the old Italian models, however, with all their archaism and immaturity of skill, was the honest striving after nature, sincerity of style, decorative simplicity, and, by no means least, the pious selection of worthy subjects. It is this last quality, exhibited alike by all the members of the Brotherhood, that more plainly than anything marks the cleavage between their “pre-Raphaelite” work and the commonplace painting of the day. They set themselves to paint great and ennobling subjects, often greater than they could achieve, out of their imagination, when the rest of the world (always excepting men like Madox Brown, who belonged to them in spirit) were painting what Ruskin calls “cattle-pieces,” and ‘sea-pieces,’ and ‘fruit-pieces,’ and ‘family pieces;’ the eternal brown cows in ditches, and white sails in squalls, and sliced lemons in saucers, and foolish faces in simpers.”
In the inauguration of the Brotherhood Rossetti took a specially active part, and the title itself was invented by him. One would not be far wrong in saying that the whole idea was his, and that the two companions who share the honour of its conception were dragged, enthusiastically enough without doubt, not for the first or last time at the glowing wheels of his fervid chariot. “Rossetti,” says one of them—Mr. Hunt, of course, for Millais was remarkably reticent about those early days—“Rossetti, with his spirit alike subtle and fiery, was essentially a proselytiser, sometimes to an almost absurd degree, but possessed, alike in his poetry and painting, with an appreciation of beauty of the most intense quality.” Millais is credited in the same sentence with a rare combination of artistic faculty and British common sense. “He was,” says Mr. Hunt, “beyond almost anyone with whom I have been acquainted, full of a generous quick enthusiasm; a spirit on fire with eagerness to seize whatever he saw was good, which shone in every line of his face, and made it, as Rossetti once said, look sometimes like the face of an angel.” His whole after-career shows how completely thisBrother was fascinated and dominated at the time by the imaginative natures round him, and with what wonderful results for art. Though younger than his companions in age, in painting he was already their superior, and his brilliant reputation as a student was invaluable in the hour of strife; but in imaginative and poetic qualities he was, compared with Rossetti, deficient, and such poetic
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charm as breathes from his early pictures, and from an occasional later one like The Vale of Rest , is unquestionably owing in part to the influences under which he fell, and to that “spirit on fire with eagerness to seize whatever he saw was good.” Of the third member of the trio, the writer of the foregoing appreciations, a fair impression can be got from the autobiographical sketch which he contributed to the “Contemporary Review” (April, May, June, 1886), in which with almost anatomical minuteness he lays bare the secrets of his early struggle to win a way betwixt art and commerce, and his heroic sacrifices for the former. At the time of the formation of theBrotherhood he was twenty-one years old, and practically out of his studenthood, his style being already formed on the almost painfully laborious lines from which it has never deviated. In the sense in which the “Brotherhood” professed to be pre-Raphaelite,i.e., in adherence to nature and in choice of great subjects, Holman Hunt was, if the phrase may be permitted, the most eminently pre-Raphaelite of them all. And he has remained so. The long series of journeys undertaken in the East for the purpose of acquiring the proper setting and the true local colour for his scriptural subjects prove that to him at least the profession of “seeking nature” in its extreme sense was a real one, and not a passing whim begotten of youthful enthusiasm. Mr. Hunt says, nevertheless, that the title of “Pre-Raphaelite” was adopted partly in a spirit of fun, and, like other names which have acquired honour, was originally a term of reproach invented by their enemies. On this account they prudently decided to keep it secret, and to let no outward symbol of their union appear beyond the mystic initials P.R.B., which were to be used on all their pictures and in private intercourse.
The next step was to enroll sympathetic fellow-members. Besides the three founders of the Brotherhood, four more or less active adherents were enlisted. Holman Hunt introduced Mr. F. G. Stephens, who at that time was a painter, but very soon abandoned art for criticism. Woolner, the afterwards well-known sculptor, whose contributions to the movement were mainly poetical, was introduced by Millais, or possibly Rossetti; and the latter certainly was responsible for the remaining two recruits, his brother and James Collinson. Collinson, a torpid member at the best, and elected apparently on the strength of one picture which Rossetti thought “stunning,” was mainly useful as a butt to the others, who used to make fun of his sleepy nature and drag him all reluctant from his bed to go for midnight walks. Shortly afterwards, being seized
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with religious propensities, he vacated his membership and retired to Stonyhurst. Several other intimates and associates have at one time or another been credited with membership of the “P.R.B.,” but erroneously, as the survivors declare. Two men who were much in sympathy with the movement, one of them its more than putative father—Madox Brown and William Bell Scott—might well have joined it; but the former disapproved of anything resembling an artistic clique, and the latter had somewhat similar reasons for not being personally associated with the organization.
For the doings of the Brotherhood, sane and otherwise; for their weekly meetings; their code of rules; the serious way in which they regarded their mission, and the jocular way in which they customarily discussed it: for these and many other interesting details of its career, including the gradual decline in enthusiasm for its maintenance as the individual qualities of the members began to develop upon divergent lines, the curious reader will do well to consult Mr. W. M. Rossetti's “ Memoir.” Mr. Rossetti, not being an artist, was himself elected secretary to the Brotherhood, and with businesslike care he has preserved in a diary all the daily and weekly occurrences that came under his notice. These have not yet been published in a complete form; but no doubt they will be some day, and then there will be nothing left to tell. Such particulars, however, do not properly come within the scope of this record, interesting as they may be from a personal point of view. It is sufficient to say that the weekly attendances of the Brethren, at first a constant source of pleasure and mutual help, had become very irregular by December, 1850, that an attempt was made to revive them in January, 1851, but without effect, and that Millais's election to the Academy in 1853 gave a final quietus to the organization, which for some time previously had ceased to exist save in name. The ranks of the Brotherhood had not even remained intact. In addition to Collinson, it had lost Woolner, who went to Australia when the emigration craze was at its height. To replace the former a young painter, Walter Howell Deverell, had been nominated, but his election was regarded by some as invalid. Deverell, whose painting of Viola and the Duke in Twelfth Night remains an almost solitary testimony to his genius, unhappily died young. He possessed many graces of appearance and manner, and was in all respects a fascinating personality. Behind the Brotherhood, and hitherto unmentioned, we seem to catch a glimpse of another very gracious, but very retiring figure, that of Rossetti's sister Christina, who in addition to her deeply
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religious and poetic gifts possessed a quiet fund of humour to be expended on the events that occurred within her little circle. The decay of the “P.R.B.” is thus recorded by her in a sonnet of appropriately irregular form.



  • “The P.R.B. is in its decadence:
  • For Woolner in Australia cooks his chops,
  • And Hunt is yearning for the land of Cheops;
  • D.G. Rossetti shuns the vulgar optic;
  • While William M. Rossetti merely lops
  • His B's in English disesteemed as Coptic.
  • Calm Stephens in the twilight smokes his pipe,
  • But long the dawning of his public day;
  • And he at last the champion great Millais,
  • Attaining Academic opulence,
  • Winds up his signature with A.R.A.
  • So rivers merge in the perpetual sea;
  • So luscious fruit must fall when over-ripe,
  • And so the consummated P.R.B.”
We left Rossetti, in order to describe the formation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, at the point where he had just settled down in a joint studio with Holman Hunt to paint his first picture. In an enthusiasm for community of action, and a spirit of devotion to Keats, it had been proposed that each of the Brethren should illustrate, by an etching, a scene from that poet's “Isabella”. Hunt, however, was already engaged upon his picture of Rienzi swearing Revenge over his Brother's Corpse ; Millais had work of a less than Pre-Raphaelite character to finish off, and Rossetti himself was seized with desire to paint a subject which much commended itself to his intensely mystical and symbol-loving mind, The Girlhood of Mary Virgin . The only one of the three, eventually, who touched Keats that year (1848) was Millais, who achieved a real triumph with the striking picture, Lorenzo and Isabella . He had been engaged to the last minute upon his old work, when suddenly, in the graphic words of Mr. Hunt, about November, the whole atmosphere of his studio was changed, and the new white canvas was installed on the easel. Day by day advanced, at a pace beyond all calculation, the picture now known to the whole of England, which I venture to say is the most wonderful painting that any youth still under twenty years of age ever did in the world. Whether posterity will support so overwhelming a verdict as this may, without disrespect either to the critic or the picture, be questioned.
Rossetti's picture, as can well be imagined, gave him endless
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trouble, and was a source of the most violent fits of alternate depression and energy. During the painting of it his kindly mentor, Brown, frequently visited the studio occupied by the pair of Brothers, and assisted them impartially with advice and technical knowledge. At the same time, Brown's diary, a document full of dry sardonic humour and quaint touches, to say nothing for the moment of its pathos, contains many anecdotes of Rossetti's exasperating changefulness and want of consideration, which show that kindness did not blind the painter to his pupil's foibles. To Brown's description of Rossetti, “lying, howling, on his belly in my studio,” and, at another time, reduced by struggles with impossible drapery to an almost maudlin condition of profanity, we may add Hunt's description of how he had solemnly to take his companion out for a walk and explain that if the interruptions of temper and multiplication of difficulties did not cease, neither of them would have a picture finished to show alongside of Millais's—a remonstrance which he says was effectual and taken in perfect good part.
So by the following spring (1849) all three pictures were ready for exhibition, and were hung, Millais's and Hunt's in the Academy, and Rossetti's either from choice or necessity in the so-called Free Exhibition held in a gallery at Hyde Park Corner. Here it was bought for £80 by the Marchioness of Bath, in whose family an aunt of Rossetti's was acting as governess; and on her death it was bequeathed to her daughter, Lady Louisa Feilding. It is now in the possession of Mrs. Jekyll, one of the daughters of the late William Graham, by whose courtesy it is reproduced here.
The picture has lately become well known by its re-exhibition at the New Gallery, and is on many accounts a favourite one with lovers of Rossetti's work. For delicacy and charm of sentiment there are few to be preferred to it, even though the work, and especially the colouring, may not be in all respects of the strongest. Considering the painter's age and want of proper training, it is a masterly performance. The scene shown is a room in the Virgin's home, with an open carved balcony at which her father, St. Joachim, is tending a symbolically fruitful vine. On the right of the picture, shown against an olive-green curtain, are the figures of the Virgin and her mother, St. Anna, seated at an embroidery frame. The latter, clothed in dark green and brown, with a nun-like head-dress of dull red, sits watching with clasped hands the work before her, whilst the young girl, a most untypical Madonna, in simple grey dress with pale green at the wrists, pauses with the needle in her
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Genevieve

Genevieve: From Coleridge

Figure: Pen and ink, arched top. Inscribed lower left corner: "Genevieve." Monogram and date inscribed lower right: "August 1848." Two full-length figures near a statue of a praying knight and his hound. On the left, a young man seated before the statue plays a lute, gazing downward, while a young woman faces him, leaning her right side against the back of the statue's base while she listens to his song.



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hand, and gazes with a rapt ascetic look at the room before her, where, as if visible to her eyes, a child-angel is tending a tall white lily. Beneath the pot in which the lily grows are six large books in heavy bindings, bearing the names of the six cardinal virtues. These, and a white dove perching on the trellis, are amongst the peaceful symbols of the picture, whilst the tragedy also is foreshadowed in a figure of the cross formed by the young vine-tendrils and in some strips of palm and “seven-thorned briar” laid across the floor. Each of the figures, and the dove, bears a halo, the name being inscribed within it. Rossetti painted the calm face of his mother for St. Anna, and his sister Christina for the Virgin, giving her, however, in contravention of the rule mentioned above, golden instead of dark brown hair. The picture was signed with his name in full and the letters P.R.B. after it, and the frame bore as legend two sonnets, of which the first, the well-known one beginning



  • “This is that blessed Mary, pre-elect
  • God's Virgin.”




was printed in the catalogue. The sestet which follows is explanatory of the picture:



  • “So held she through her girlhood, as it were
  • An angel-watered lily that near God
  • Grows and is quiet; till, one dawn at home,
  • She woke in her white bed, and had no fear
  • At all,—yet wept till sunshine and felt awed,
  • Because the fulness of her time was come.”
Coincidently with the picture of Mary's girlhood , Rossetti began and finished the oil portrait of his father, which is reproduced on page 1. He also drew, one night in 1848, sitting up till six in the morning to finish it, an exquisite outline design of a lute-player and his lady, from Coleridge's “Genevieve.” This was given to his friend, Coventry Patmore, who many years later exchanged it for some studies by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. On the death of the latter it was presented by Lady Burne-Jones to Mr. Fairfax Murray, in whose possession it remains. Other interesting drawings of about this date exist, among which may be mentioned a curious one done in pen and ink on green paper as an illustration to Edgar Allan Poe's “Ulalume.” This, which I have not seen mentioned or catalogued before, was sold at Foster's in 1888, under the somewhat misleading title of “Welcome,” an auctioneer's blunder for the real name, which is written on the drawing. Mr. Fairfax Murray
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bought, and is the owner of this rarity, as well as of another design for “The Raven.”
Two or three other pen-and-ink drawings of 1848 belong to Mr. J. A. R. Munro, having been originally given to Rossetti's friend, Alex. Munro, the sculptor. They include Gretchen in the Chapel , with Mephistopheles whispering in her ear, and The Sun may shine and we be cold , a sketch of a girl with clasped hands, crouching in the embrasure of a window, apparently a prisoner. Both of these were exhibited in 1883 at the Burlington Fine Arts Club.
Although 1848 is intrinsically the year of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, much of the work of the next two years comes within the scope of its influence. As an example may be given here the  

The Salutation of Beatrice

Il Saluto di Beatrice

Figure: Pen and ink, three compartments. Text in left compartment: E cui saluta fa tremar lo core D.G.R. 1850. Text in center compartment: 9 Guigno 1290 Ita n'e Beatrice in alto ciel Ed ha lasciato Amor meco dolente. Text in right compartment: Guardami ben; ben son, ben son Beatrice D.G.R. 1850. A full-length Dantis Amor stands in the central compartment, holding a sundial and a down-turned torch. In the left compartment, Beatrice and two women pass through a portico, to the right of Dante and his servant. Beatrice and Dante look at one another. In the right compartment, Beatrice followed by two women meets Dante before a field of lilies. The women approach from the left and appear in profile, Dante faces 3/4 front towards Beatrice. An angel is seen in the distance.



important pen-and-ink drawing called Il Saluto di Beatrice , representing in two compartments the meeting of Dante and Beatrice, first in a street of Florence and secondly in Paradise. The left compartment (from the spectator's point of view) is dated 1849, and bears the legend from the “Vita Nuova”— E cui saluta fa tremar lo core. It represents Dante standing in the doorway of a cloister or portico, overcome by the sweetness of the salutation given him by his lady, who is passing with her arms linked in those of two girl-friends. In the background is a statue of a mænad with cymbals. At the feet of Dante is a slab carved with the outline of a mounted knight. In his hand the poet bears a volume of Virgil, and through the half-open doorway is caught a glimpse of frescoed walls. The second compartment is dated 1850, and shows Dante crowned with
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Faust: Gretchen and                         Mephistopheles in the   church

Gretchen and Mephistopheles in the Chapel. Two Designs

Figure: Pen and ink, rounded upper corners. Text in lower left corner: G.C.D.R. July 1848. Numerous background figures pray in church pews. In the foreground, a young woman facing forward kneels behind a short dias, her eyes closed in prayer. A child kneels the right of the dais, and a sword wrapped in a banner lies before them both. To the right behind this pair, a devil with horns crouches behind another dais, over which a woman leans, her hair unbound and her face concealed.



 

Faust: Gretchen and                         Mephistopheles in the church

Figure: Pen and ink. Text in lower left corner: Dante G. Rossetti 1848. Numerous background figures in church pews pray facing backward, while in the foreground a young woman slouches over a small dais, and a man with horns stands behind her, bending down towards her ear. To the right, a second man kneeling behind another dais leans forward, looking at the woman. The scene is enclosed within an arched architectural frame, on the outside of which two half-length male figures watch the scene, one in each of the upper corners.



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Sig. E6
laurel advancing to meet the forms of Beatrice and her two maidens in the garden of Paradise. The latter are carrying instruments of music. Behind the group is a field of swaying lilies, and in the distance a flying angel is seen. Between the two compartments is a winged figure of Love, with bow and quiver slung behind his back and a down-turned torch in his hand. Above this figure is inscribed: “ Ita n' è BEATRICE in alto cielo ;” and below: “ Ed ha lasciato AMOR meco dolente .” The title as given is inscribed at the bottom of the drawing. The whole composition was repeated in oil in 1859, and the meeting in Paradise formed the subject of more than one separate drawing. In all of these later versions the direction of the two groups was reversed, and the central figure of Dantis Amor underwent very considerable changes. A full account of these changes, as well as of the different versions of the subject and their history, will be found in a later chapter, under 1859. The pen-and-ink drawing, reproduced here, which is the earliest design of all, belongs to Mr. George Rae, of Birkenhead.
The cream of Rossetti's Pre-Raphaelite work, however, during the two years subsequent to 1848, is the Ecce Ancilla Domini , a sequel in sentiment to Rossetti's picture of the previous year, and the realization on canvas of the last lines of the sonnet.This is so well known to frequenters of the National Gallery 1 that to describe it would be superfluous. It was exhibited in 1850 under the same auspices as its predecessor (though the gallery this year was moved to Portland Place), and was priced at £50. Its appearance was the signal for a storm of abuse and raillery, which descended with impartial violence also upon the pictures of the other Pre-Raphaelite brothers exhibited at the Academy, and which pursued them relentlessly until time and success finally established their position. Munro, the sculptor, just mentioned, had incautiously published the meaning of the mystic letters P.R.B., and no peace or quarter was vouchsafed to those who dared to stand up against traditional authority.
We are not so conventional now that a new idea or a new style in art could shock us. The tendency in fact is towards the other extreme. It is consequently difficult for anyone of this generation to see what in the quiet, shrinking, girl-like figure of Rossetti's Virgin, in the handsome human-looking angel, or the simple entourage of that Eastern room, could infuriate and outrage the so-called critical opinions of the mid-Victorian age. To us, as to
Transcribed Footnote (page 25):

1 Ecce Ancilla is now hung in the Tate Gallery at Millbank.

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Ruskin, whose great mind was ever alive to beauty of thought, however expressed, there seems an especial charm in this new conception of the oft-depicted scene: the angel, not as usual gay with peacock wings and trappings, but grave and simply clad; the Virgin, not raised triumphant on a throne, nor impossibly bedecked with jewels, but waked from slumber in the early dawn, and crouching half in fear and awe upon a pallet couch. The white painting, too, is a masterpiece, skilfully relieved by touches of bright colour, the red embroidery at the bed foot, the soft blue curtain at the Virgin's head, and through the open window the blue sky and bright sun of a Syrian morning streaming into the room. Harmless enough, one might have thought it, even for those who preferred the more garish sumptuousness of the conventional type; but critics were on the alert to find fault, and with a unanimity rarely discoverable in art circles they emphatically found it. Millais's picture of the boy Christ in his father's carpenter's shop was perhaps the best abused of the three, Hunt's picture being the somewhat unprepossessing Christian Missionary . Millais, however, sold his picture; whilst the other two, who needed the money more, had the mortification, owing to the dead-set made against them, of receiving their pictures back.
Ancient injustice is an inspiring, but hardly a fruitful theme, and it would serve no purpose to go again and at length into the nature of the attack made upon the devoted band of Pre-Raphaelites. Charles Dickens and many other great men lent their names to it, and the Brethren were compelled to face evil days in consequence. But in the darkest hour a saviour appeared. Ruskin, who before the outcry hardly knew of the existence of the school, had his attention drawn to it by Coventry Patmore, and with characteristic fearlessness and energy plunged into the fray. A series of letters to the “Times” pointing out the high qualities of the works impugned, and rounding on their detractors, had the desired result of checking the stream of invective. Ruskin defended the artists, at all points, from the charge of being ignorant copyists and realists, the accusation that they could not draw, the alleged conspiracy against Raphael, and finally from the subtlest insinuation of all, because it sounded so professional, the charge that they knew not the laws of perspective. This ardent championship had one curious effect. In his warmth of defence Ruskin had not only combatted the statement of faults, but had revelled in laying down an elaborate statement of principles. Thus it came about that the original ideas out of which the Brother-
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Ecce Ancilla Domini

ECCE ANCILLA DOMINI!

Figure: Oil on canvas mounted on panel. Text in lower left corner: DGR March 1850. A seated virgin in a loose white robe slumps on a bed, gazing at a lily held by the angel Gabriel. The angel floats to the left of her bed with flames at his feet, facing the virgin and holding a lily out toward her. At the foot of the bed a crimson cloth embroidered with lilies is displayed.



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hood had grown, ideas of a broad and possibly nebulous character, became transmuted into hard and fast rules of conduct and of practice, which the Brotherhood more or less had to accept, partly perhaps out of gratitude to their benefactor, partly because they agreed with them in theory, and partly because they may not have seen how far or how forcefully they led.
On the other hand, if we are not to credit the “Pre-Raphaelites” with all the fine sentiments attributed to them in Ruskin's inspired defence, it is absurd to imagine, as some have done, that they failed to take themselves or their work seriously because Rossetti in his family letters used to speak flippantly of his unlucky little picture, which, like a curse, had come home to roost. Men often enough speak lightly to friends of things which have lain at the heart; and if Rossetti joked to his brother about “the blessed white eyesore” and “the blessed white daub,” it is none the less true that he had striven to put all his thoughts and all his knowledge into it, with such success that it reveals to us to-day an intensity of feeling and reverence which few modern painters have emulated, and to which Rossetti in his later work did not always attain.
A characteristic of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood which has not yet been touched on, and which here calls for digression, was its remarkable literary strength. Of the seven original members, two— W. M. Rossetti and F. G. Stephens—were writers by preference. The former did not paint at all. Gabriel Rossetti was, as we have seen, a poet before he could be called a painter, and a poet of the first order. Woolner also was a poet, and in this capacity alone belonged to the movement. Collinson made a third; Deverell a weak fourth. Millais and Hunt showed no inclination this way; but, besides those mentioned, the coterie included Christina Rossetti, William Bell Scott, Coventry Patmore, and Madox Brown, who wrote occasionally in verse. Even without the need of a propaganda such a body was almost bound in the nature of things to produce a school of literary thought allied in sentiment with its artistic ideas and aims. Hence came about the “ Germ,” that much-prized periodical, which had its origin in the fertile brain of Rossetti, and which was ostensibly formed to be the organ of the P.R.B., and to spread its opinions. Rossetti's letters of the period show him actively engaged in beating up recruits, forcing all with whom he came in contact to turn journalist, just as later on he tried to force everyone to be a painter—because he was one—or else a buyer of pictures. It speaks well for his persuasive powers that he was able
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to float the venture at all, for its financial prospects were never tempting. As it was, he, with his brother as editor, and his sister, formed the mainstay of the magazine, which ran to four numbers, and then flickered out, leaving the usual monetary deficit behind.
The title originally proposed for the “ Germ” was “Monthly Thoughts in Literature, Poetry, and Art;” but at a formal meeting held in Rossetti's studio, 72, Newman Street, in December, 1849, just as the first number was ready to appear, this tremendous appellation was rejected, and the simple monosyllable, put forward by Mr. Cave Thomas, an intimate friend of the group, was substituted for it, with the added sub-title “Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art.” The first number contained “My Sister's Sleep” and the prose romance, “Hand and Soul”, by Rossetti; Woolner's poem, “My Beautiful Lady”, illustrated by a double etching , the work of Mr. Holman Hunt; a sonnet on “ The Love of Beauty” by Madox Brown; the first instalment of a paper on “ The Subject in Art” by J. L. Tupper; a small poem by Coventry Patmore, called “ The Seasons;” “ Dream Land” and “An End” by Christina Rossetti; a sonnet and a review of Clough's “Bothie” by W. M. Rossetti, and one other poem. Subsequent numbers contained “The Blessed Damozel”, “The Carillon”, “Sea Limits” (under its first title of “From the Cliffs”), and six or seven sonnets by Rossetti; [sonnet 1] [sonnet 2] [sonnet 3] [sonnet 4] [sonnets 5 and 6] a few sonnets and a prose dialogue by Deverell;
Note: Marillier misidentifies Deverell's contributions to the Germ . Deverell contributed “The Sight Beyond” (misprinted as “The Light Beyond”) and “A Modern Idyl” to numbers 3 and 4, respectively.
William Bell Scott's “Morning Sleep” and “Early Aspirations”; and an interesting paper on “The Purpose and Tendency of Early Italian Art” by F. G. Stephens, under the pseudonym of John Seward. Of the four numbers published of the magazine the first two only were called “ The Germ,” the title in the third and fourth numbers being altered to “ Art and Poetry” at the suggestion of the Tuppers, who as printers of the magazine had taken over the responsibility on generous terms.
Our interest here is rather with the purpose than with the contents of the “ Germ.” In it, if anywhere, one would look for a clear exposition of the views of the young painters, and for their new doctrine of art; but this, so far as it can be found at all, must be admitted to lack sufficiency. Discounting the rambling paper by J. L. Tupper, there is little that can be called doctrinal in any sense beyond the sonnet by W. M. Rossetti which appeared on each cover, and a short exordium on the back. The latter was re-written when the magazine changed its name, and it is matter for some doubt in
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which form it is more obscure and worse in regard to style. As Rossetti was held to have been mainly responsible for the original draft, I will quote it. The first two paragraphs deal solely with the contents, and with the prominence given to Poetry. The third runs as follows:

“The endeavour held in view throughout the writings on Art will be to encourage and enforce an entire adherence to the simplicity of nature [Nature, in the re-draft, was honoured with a capital N]; and also to direct attention, as an auxiliary medium, to the comparatively few works which Art has yet produced in this spirit. It need scarcely be added that the chief object of the etched designs will be to illustrate this aim practically, as far as the method of execution will permit; in which purpose they will be produced with the utmost care and completeness.”

On the whole, the announcement in “ Art and Poetry” is worse than this. It contains the following paragraph:

“With a view to obtain the thoughts of Artists, upon Nature as evolved in Art, in another language besides their own proper one, this Periodical has been established. Thus, then, it is not open to the conflicting opinions of all who handle the brush and palette, nor is it restricted to actual practitioners; but is intended to enunciate the principles of those who, in the true spirit of Art, enforce a rigid adherence to the simplicity of Nature either in Art or Poetry, and consequently regardless (sic) whether emanating from practical Artists, or from those who have studied Nature in the Artist's School.”

These two quotations may help to justify the observation already made, certainly not in a disparaging spirit, that the doctrines of the Pre-Raphaelites took substance and colour from Ruskin's idealism, and that prior to his defence they were rather without form and possibly void. The sonnet by W. M. Rossetti, which was referred to as figuring on the cover of all four numbers, does not greatly help to clarify or crystallize the ideas of the P.R.B. so far as they existed at that time. It is as follows:



  • When whoso merely hath a little thought
  • Will plainly think the thought which is in him—
  • Not imaging another's bright or dim,
  • Not mangling with new words what others taught;
  • When whoso speaks, from having either sought
  • Or only found,—will speak, not just to skim
  • A shallow surface with words made and trim,
  • But in that very speech the matter brought:
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  • Be not too keen to cry—‘So this is all!—
  • A thing I might myself have thought as well,
  • But would not say it, for it was not worth!’
  • Ask: ‘Is this truth?’ For is it still to tell
  • That, be the theme a point or the whole earth,
  • Truth is a circle, perfect, great or small.
The “ Germ,” as its brief career sufficiently denotes, fell almost stillborn upon an ungrateful world; but amongst a small class of artists and admirers it undoubtedly served to strengthen Rossetti's reputation. There was nothing feeble or immature about the poetical ideas expressed in it, and one may even be surprised that such an original piece of work as the “Blessed Damozel” did not attract greater attention, imperfect as it now seems compared with the revised and later versions. Both this and “Hand and Soul” have frequently been reprinted. The latter is valuable, in addition to its literary qualities, for the light it throws upon Rossetti's mediæval and mystical mind. To some extent it is no doubt an autobiographical record, a memory of mental perturbations and experiences which beset the young painter, striving to preserve and foster the spiritual side of his nature at the expense of more than commonly strong bodily inclinations. From an abstraction like this story of the mythical young painter Chiaro dell' Erma, we may feel we get one truer glimpse of the real Rossetti than any number of life-histories, overlaid with trivial incidents which obscure rather than reveal his personality, can give us.
Biographical facts are concrete, intelligible, and common to all men. Their record tends in general to level genius to the limits of ordinary comprehension. An imaginative work of genius like “Hand and Soul”, with its semi-confession of faith, suggests the “something not ourselves” so subtly that though we cannot grasp it we feel that it is there, like worshippers at a darkened shrine, which, in all likelihood, were it flooded with light, would to duller senses appear empty. In Rossetti's case, almost beyond all others, one does not want to get to the very bottom of things. He had the seer's eye before he was out of his teens. His curious three-parts-alien birth stamped him with qualities that no fixed northern type of mind can adequately appreciate or define. The more one tries, by accumulation of facts, to realize, approfondir, these qualities, the more one is likely to fail, and to be brought up by a dead wall of what we can only regard in our limited way as inconsistencies, vagaries, and occasional moral deficiencies. As he advanced in age this became more and more the case. His biographers have felt the
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difficulty, but have not always surmounted it; and so, according to personal bias, they have mostly presented him either as an angel of generosity or a devil of selfishness, an enthusiastic friend or an unamiable recluse, a romantic lover or a hardened sensualist. They have tried to reconcile facts unexplainable in themselves and mutually incompatible. They have, in a word, sought for motives where they had only to make allowance for moods; they have tried to impress single-mindedness on a varied, ever-changing, and kaleidoscopic nature.
Let us be frank, and not try to understand Rossetti. He probably did not fully understand himself, if he even ever sought to. He has written poems and painted pictures that charm us by their infinite light and shade, their suggestiveness, their harmony, their music, their colour, and a hundred subtle qualities not to be described. Why should we cavil at accents, at occasional faults of drawing, when there is so much beyond that lies outside of us and above our commonplace? The art of modern journalism is gradually subjecting all great men and all great things to the insult of our understanding. Is not this sufficient reason why we should give thanks to Heaven for one revelation that is cryptic, one man of passion and genius whom not even biographies as yet have entirely reduced to common terms?
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CHAPTER III

WORK 1849 TO 1853

INFLUENCE OF BROWNING AND DANTE
BEFORE the first number of the “ Germ” had appeared, and while it was in progress, Rossetti, accompanied by Holman Hunt, paid a short and hurried visit to Paris and Belgium. A rhyming diary and a series of jocular sonnets, interspersed with a few serious ones, recall the vigour of his first impressions. A large proportion of the time was spent at the Louvre and other galleries, rushing through Old Masters at a furious rate. A sonnet marked each stop. Giorgione's Venetian Pastoral evoked the fine one beginning “Water, for anguish of the solstice,” Ingres's Ruggiero and Angelica afforded material for a second, being, as Rossetti writes, “unsurpassed for exquisite perfection by anything I have ever seen.” This slightly premature pronouncement was accompanied by another, which serves to show that Rossetti's taste in art was still an unfixed and indefinite quantity: “Now for the best,” he writes, “Hunt and I solemnly decided that the most perfect works, takenin toto, that we have seen in our lives are two pictures by Hippolyte Flandrin, in the Church of St. Germain des Près. Wonderful! wonderful!! wonderful!!!”
Correspondingly emphatic, but abusive, were his comments on the work of “Rubens, Correggio, et hoc genus omne,



  • “Because, dear God! the flesh thou madest smooth
  • These carked and fretted, that it seemed to run
  • With ulcers; and the daylight of thy sun
  • They parcelled into blots and glares, uncouth
  • With stagnant grouts of paint.”
The monosyllable “slosh,” antithesis in his vocabulary of “stunning,” and expressive of all qualities condemned by the P.R.B., was in frequent requisition during this visit, and satisfac-
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“Hist! Said Kate the Queen”

“Hist! Said Kate the Queen”

Figure: Oil. The left half of the painting depicts a room filled with women sewing and tending the queen, who sits in the right foreground, having her hair brushed as she listens to one of the ladies reading. Behind the women, a high portico reveals amorous male revelers. To the right, another portico reveals a young page on a balcony, reclining on a railing as he sings to his beloved.



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Sig. F
torily disposed of most of the pictures seen. As Rossetti remarked, it did away with the necessity for detailed criticism.
His own affairs were by no means so easy of disposition.The failure of the Ecce Ancilla to find a purchaser at once 1 (it was not sold until June, 1853), and the storm of unfavourable comment it provoked, caused him frankly to abandon as unprofitable the mine of semi-religious, semi-mystical feeling which he had begun to work, and it was some time before he could settle down to find another. Canvas after canvas was begun, we are told, and rejected in despair, either because the subjects ceased to appeal, or because the technique became unmanageable. In their ardour for “Pre-Raphaelite” principles, Rossetti and Holman Hunt went down for a few weeks to Sevenoaks to paint natural scenery. 2 The experiment was a failure in Rossetti's case, so far as immediate outcome was concerned. Feeling his way pictorially towards the field of romance in which his thoughts wandered, he began to undertake subjects from this class of literature, from Browning, Dante, Keats, and later from the “Morte Darthur” of Malory. His first experiment was a large canvas illustrating the page's song in “Pippa Passes,” which soon became
Transcribed Footnote (page 33):

1The purchaser was Mr. MacCracken, a Belfast packing agent, who figures largely in Rossetti's early correspondence as a patron of all the Pre-Raphaelites. He was not always a generous or wealthy customer, and had an annoying way of paying for pictures in kind, i.e., with other pictures. Still, his connection was a useful one in several ways. Mr. MacCracken depended for his artistic preferences largely on the judgment of Ruskin, whom he referred to habitually as “the Graduate.” One of the earliest references to him occurs in a letter written by Rossetti to Madox Brown: “MacCracken sent my drawing (water-colour of Dante drawing the Angel ) to Ruskin, who the other day wrote me an incredible letter about it, remaining mine respectfully (!!) and wanting to call. I of course stroked him down in my answer, and yesterday he called. His manner was more agreeable than I had expected. . . . He seems in a mood to make my fortune.” Rossetti altered the title of Ecce Ancilla to The Annunciation on selling the picture to Mr. MacCracken, as he thought the former might smell of Popery to an unenlightened purchaser. The picture changed hands several times after Mr. MacCracken's death. In 1874 it was bought by Agnews at the sale of Mr. Heugh's collection, and sold by them to Mr. William Graham, who sent it to Rossetti to see if he cared to touch it up. Rossetti writes about it thus in a letter to William Bell Scott: “Dear Scotus—A little early thing of my own, Annunciation , painted when I was twenty-one, sold to Agnew at Christie's the other day (to my vast surprise) for nearly £400. Graham has since bought it of Agnew, and has sent it to me for possible revision, but it is best left alone, except just for a touch or two. Indeed, my impression on seeing it was that I couldn't do quite so well now.” Mr. W. M. Rossetti thinks that the lily held by the angel may have been an addition of this date. Of the Girlhood of Mary Virgin , which came back to him in similar circumstances, he wrote: “It quite surprised me (and shamed me a little) to see what I did fifteen years ago.”

Transcribed Footnote (page 33):

2 This background, according to Mr. Stephens, was intended for a large picture of Il Saluto di Beatrice , corresponding to the left side of the pen-and-ink diptych on page 24. It was used for The Bower Meadow in 1872.

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impossible and had to be dropped. The composition of it remains, however, in a little painting called Hist, said Kate the Queen , dated 1851, which belongs to Mr. S. E. Spring Rice. The queen is dressed in lavender grey, and is seated on a chair having her golden hair combed by attendant ladies. At her feet sits an older lady reading aloud from Boccaccio, whilst down the room is ranged a row of maidens working at a long embroidery or seam. An arched window with twisted pillars yields a view of a group playing ball outside, and to the right of the picture, sitting on a balcony unseen from the room, his hawk on his wrist, is the love-sick page leaning back and carolling. The large unfinished canvas remained by Rossetti for some years in his studio, and was eventually cut up, one portion of it (including the woman reading) being preserved in the  

“Hist! Said Kate the Queen”

Head of Maid. From “Kate the Queen.”

Figure: Oil. According to Marillier, this is a detail of an original "Hist! Said Kate the Queen," which was never finished and was later cut up. Marillier isolates the head of a young woman in a medieval veil and headress with dark curls. She gazes slightly downward and to her left.



form of a small picture entitled Two Mothers , whilst a little head of one of the attendants, reproduced here, survives in the possession of Mr. W. M. Rossetti. Mr. Stephens (“ Portfolio Monograph,” p. 28) states that the design of Kate the Queen originally formed the centre of an illustration in three parts, executed in pen-and-ink at an earlier date. I cannot find any verification of this; but a charming pen-and-ink drawing of Pippa by the lady who was afterwards Rossetti's wife, dated 1854, exists, and was reproduced in the “Letters to William Allingham” (Fisher Unwin, 1897).
Two other designs from Browning which were carried out at this time are the pen-and-ink drawing from “Sordello” entitled Taurello's first sight of Fortune , and The Laboratory . In the first, which represents a scene upon the ramparts of the castle at Messina, the young Salinguerra is being invested by his host, the noble
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The Laboratory

The Laboratory.

Figure: Water color over pen and ink. A man seated behind a laboratory table shows a piece of metal to a young woman, who leans over the table to look at it. Books and laboratory apparatus are strewn about.



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King of the Romans, with “the silk glove of Constance,” which the queen is drawing off. Other characters in the poem are grouped round. The design was presented by “his P.R. Brother, Dante G. Rossetti” to Mr. F. G. Stephens, who owns it still.
The Laboratory was, in all probability, Rossetti's first attempt at water-colour (it is painted over a pen-and-ink drawing, as several of his early ones were), and bears but slight resemblance either in thought or execution to the work by which he is popularly known. The picture bears the legend:



  • “In this devil's smithy
  • Where is the poison to poison her, prithee?”




and illustrates the scene described by Browning as typical of the “ancien régime.” The lady of the poem, with passion in her eyes and clenched hand, rises to take the tiny phial which the alchemist has prepared for her, and is depositing her jewels and offering the old man her mouth to “kiss if he will,” before going on to the ball where she is to meet her rival. The brilliant and striking colour, and the movement of this drawing are much commented on by Mr. Stephens, and besides reflecting, according to his judgment, the teaching of Madox Brown and the influences of the Flemish and Italian pictures just visited, mark the decided opening of Rossetti's second period.
In addition to these three subjects, chosen, as he put it with a certain wayward affectation of insincerity, “on account of their presumptive saleableness,” but also out of his deep admiration for Browning, 1 Rossetti drew or painted in the years 1849-50 other themes of a romantic and mediæval nature. Amongst them was his first illustration to Shakespeare, a scene from “Much Ado about Nothing,” representing the happy lovers, Benedick and Beatrice , receiving the felicitations of those who had plotted their match. Rossetti wrote to his brother on September 3rd, 1850, describing the subject and announcing his intention of painting it. The water-colour was never executed, but the author possesses the pencil design, reproduced on the next page, which shows the composition and grouping of the characters.
From the “ Vita Nuova” Rossetti took the incident of Dante
Transcribed Footnote (page 35):

1The story is too well known to need more than passing mention, how Rossetti, being one day at the British Museum, and chancing upon “Pauline, recognized it as being Browning's work, very little of which he had then seen. He copied the poem out at length, and wrote to Browning, who in reply admitted the authorship. The two met several times later, and in 1855 Rossetti painted the water-colour portrait of Browning which forms a companion picture to his Swinburne.

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drawing an Angel on the Anniversary of Beatrice's Death , executed first in pen-and-ink, and originally given to Millais. Mr. Fairfax Murray now owns this highly interesting and most “Pre-Raphaelite” drawing, the water-colour reproduced here being of later date, 1853. The latter was bought by Mr. Thomas Combe, of the Oxford University Press, and was bequeathed by his widow to the Taylorian Museum, where it remains. Both versions represent the following passage from Rossetti's own translation:

“On that day which fulfilled the year since my lady had been  

Benedick and Beatrice

Benedick and Beatrice. From Much Ado About Nothing.

Figure: Pencil. Depicts the various pairs of lovers onstage at the end of Shakespeare's play. In the foreground, Benedick stands behind Beatrice, embracing her.



made of the citizens of eternal life, remembering me of her as I sat alone, I betook myself to draw the resemblance of an angel upon certain tablets. And while I did thus, chancing to turn my head, I perceived that some were standing beside me to whom I should have given courteous welcome, and that they were observing what I did. Also I learned afterwards that they had been there a while before I perceived them. Perceiving whom, I arose for salutation, and said:‘Another was with me.’ ”

The “ Vita Nuova” also furnished the subject of a small water-colour belonging to Mr. H. T. Wells, R.A., and attributed to 1849. This represents Beatrice at the Wedding Feast denying her Saluta-
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The First Anniversary of                             the Death of   Beatrice

Dante Drawing the Angel

Figure: Water color. Text in lower right corner: D.G.R. 1853. Inside of Dante's studio, at the picture's right, the artist kneels next to a window, holding a small sketch. To the left and rear are three visitors, at whom he looks over his right shoulder. Glaring sunlight pours in from the open window and doorway.



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Beatrice Meeting                             Dante at a Wedding Feast,   Denies him her Salutation

Beatrice at the Wedding-Feast Denying her Salutation to Dante

Figure: Water color. Dante and his servant stand in profile next to a wall on the right, as Beatrice and other members of a wedding party descend a staircase and walk past him on the left.



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tion to Dante, who, with a friend grasping his arm as if to restrain him, stands watching a procession of figures clad in blue and green, and adorned with roses in their hair. A replica was painted for Mr. Ruskin in 1855 (see page 53, and note). This is a different subject entirely from the Saluto di Beatrice described and illustrated in the last chapter. The central figure of the bridal procession is a portrait, easy to recognize, of Miss Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal, who first came into Rossetti's life at about this date. She,  

Elizabeth Siddal

Miss Siddal, 1861.

Figure: Water color. Head and shoulders of Elizabeth Siddal in profile, facing right. Her left cheek rests on her folded hands.



as one almost fears to repeat, so hackneyed is the story, was the daughter of a Sheffield cutler, and was employed in a milliner's shop off Leicester Square, where Walter Deverell discovered her one day when shopping with his mother. She was persuaded to sit to Deverell for his Viola , and later to Rossetti. Her portrait also occurs in a picture by Holman Hunt and in Millais's Ophelia. The story of her marriage to Rossetti and her early death will be briefly dealt with further on.
Both on account of her romantic history and her individual
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attractions, the personality of Miss Siddal has always exercised a delicate charm over those who love Rossetti. The portrait in oils painted by herself and reproduced in Mr. W. M. Rossetti's “ Memoir” (vol. i., p. 175), though not unlike the face in Mr. Wells's Salutation , fails to do full justice either to the descriptions of her beauty or to the imaginative works produced under its influence, as the Beata Beatrix . Far more pleasing are Rossetti's sketches of her, some of which I have reproduced. [sketch 1] [sketch 2] [sketch 3] [sketch 4] [sketch 5] For its artistic, not for its personal interest, I give the following plain description of her by her brother-in-law at the time when she and Rossetti first met: “Tall, finely formed, with a lofty neck and regular, yet somewhat uncommon features, greenish blue unsparkling eyes, large perfect eyelids, brilliant complexion, and a lavish wealth of coppery golden hair.” With this brilliance of form and colouring went an unhappy, yet not uncommon, consumptive taint, which rendered her perpetually delicate.
Miss Siddal was the model for most of Rossetti's earliest and finest water-colours containing women, and probably for all his Beatrices except the last. A little later Miss Fanny Cornforth, a favourite model, who sat to Rossetti until almost the end of his life, began to appear at intervals in his pictures, notably as the woman in Found .
To resume the tale of early work, in 1851 Rossetti continued to be engaged on small subjects of a mediæval or dramatic character. We have, for instance, the charming little group called Borgia , formerly in the collection of Mr. G. P. Boyce, the well-known water-colour painter, and reproduced here by permission of its present owner, Mr. Hacon. In this the famous Lucretia is seen seated with a lute in her hands, to the music of which two children are dancing. Over her shoulders lean on the one side the bloated Pope Alexander VI., on the other her brother Cæsar, beating time with a knife against a wine-glass on the table, and blowing the rose-petals from her hair. Lucretia's white gown is of ample folds, with elaborate sleeves, looped up all over with coloured ribbons and bows, a device which so took Rossetti's fancy that he repeated it in Bonifazio's Mistress (1860). A pen-and-ink sketch of earlier date for the Borgia group bears simply the legend from “Richard III.,” “To caper nimbly in a lady's chamber to the lascivious pleasing of a lute.” In this the figures bear a much smaller relation to the whole area of the scene, which is not well composed. Rossetti first drew the picture in the same way, but got it back from Mr. Boyce, I
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Borgia

Borgia

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water color. text in lower right corner: D.G.R. 1851. A family grouping in Lucretia Borgia's chamber. She stands in the center, turned slightly to her left and wearing a white dress. Two children dance in front of her, facing left. Behind her stand two men, who peer over her shoulders at her bosom.



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How they met themselves

How they Met Themselves

Figure: Water color. Text across bottom: How they met themselves D.G.R. 1864. Illustrating a döpplegänger myth, a pair of lovers meet their doubles in a wood. All figures are standing, the distressed and swooning couple to the right of their doubles, who are outlined in white.



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suppose about 1860, and by dint of scraping it out and adding patches of paper—a form of mosaic in which he excelled—very greatly improved the design. The water-colour was repeated in 1863 for Mrs. Tong, and is now the property of Mr. William Coltart, of Birkenhead. It was exhibited, together with the 1851 version, at the New Gallery in 1897-8.
In the same year (1851) was produced the first design for a subject of weird and ghostly conception, called How they met Themselves . This depicts a pair of lovers wandering at twilight in a wood, and suddenly confronted with their own doubles. The lady is fainting; her lover with a terrified look essays to draw his sword. The apparitions, glancing defiantly and ominously in their faces, are passing on, outlined with a pale halo of light. The legend of the Döppelgänger was one of a class of mysterious horrors which greatly appealed to Rossetti's imagination, and which fascinated him from boyhood up. Few but he would however have dared to draw it, and fewer still could have succeeded with it. The first design just referred to, in pen-and-ink, was destroyed or lost at an early date; but Rossetti re-drew it for Mr. Boyce in 1860 whilst at Paris on his honeymoon, and four years later painted two water-colour versions, [version 1] [version 2] one of which, formerly included in the Graham collection, and now belonging to Mr. S. Pepys Cockerell, is reproduced here. It was last seen in public at the New Gallery, 1897-8. The other was lent to the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1883 by Mr. J. Anderson Rose. It is, according to Mr. Fairfax Murray, rather the finer of the two, and is now in California. The pen-and-ink version dated 1851-1860 was exhibited at Burlington House in 1883, the year after the artist's death. It was one of a number of subjects which Rossetti had photographed from time to time in order to distribute copies to his friends.
To the year following, 1852, belongs a remarkably fine water-colour, representing Giotto painting the portrait of Dante . 1
This shows Giotto as a young man, rather modern looking, seated on a scaffold before the wall of the Bargello, and painting the famous portrait of Dante which was discovered on removing the plaster from the wall in 1839. This incident was impressed upon
Transcribed Footnote (page 39):

1See a note upon the sale of this picture, page 53. An earlier sketch for it was exhibited at the rooms of the Old Water-Colour Society, 121, Pall Mall, at the winter exhibition of 1852, and (if Mr. Sharp is right in his date) as far back as 1850, at the Portland Place Gallery. Mr. Sharp is certainly wrong in saying that the water-colour itself was exhibited then, as it is dated September, 1852.

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Rossetti as a boy, a copy of the portrait made by one of the discoverers having been sent to his father, and having passed into his own possession. Giotto is in dull red, with brocaded sleeves turned back. To his left is seated Dante in green, with violet sleeves and the red hood, cutting a pomegranate in his hand, and gazing down with a rapt expression to where Beatrice, with eyes intent on a book of devotions, is passing in a church procession. Her ruddy golden hair strikes a bright note at the bottom of the picture. Behind Giotto stands his master, Cimabue, in a robe of blue, watching the work which is to eclipse his; and behind Dante, in a gorgeous apparel of gold-embroidered black, leans his rival, Cavalcanti, holding in his hand a book of Guinicelli, symbolizing thereby the three generations of poets. Brushes, pigments, and a flask of oil are discernible in the box on which Giotto is seated. A palette lies beside him, and instead of using a mahl-stick he is steadying his wrist with his other hand. Numerous accessories, such as a lute with bright blue ribbon and pomegranates in a napkin, are scattered upon the platform.
The subject is intended to give expression to the following lines from Canto XI. of the Purgatorio on the waxing and waning of fame:



  • “Credette Cimabue nella pintura
  • Tener lo campo; ed ora ha Giotto il grido,
  • Sì che la fama di colui oscura.
  • Così ha tolto l'uno all' altro Guido
  • La gloria della lingua; e forse è nato
  • Chi l'uno e l'altro caccerà del nido.”


This picture, we are informed by Mr. W. M. Rossetti (“ Letters and Memoir,” vol. i., p. 163), was intended only for the centre of a triptych, on the sides of which were to be represented Dante, as one of the Priori, banishing the factious chiefs from Florence, and next Dante, mocked by the clown, in exile at the court of Can Grande. The rest of the subject was never painted. Mr. MacCracken was at one time in treaty for the water-colour, which however passed into the possession of Thomas Seddon, the artist, one of the early friends of the group. A few years ago it was sold at auction, and realized no less a sum than £630, being more than sixty times the amount originally paid for it to the artist. The present owner is Mr. John Aird, M.P.
Nothing else of importance is catalogued under the year 1852, but in 1853 we come to one or two well-known designs and pictures. First may be mentioned the pen-and-ink drawing entitled Hesterna
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Giotto painting the portrait                         of Dante

Giotto painting Dante's portrait

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water color. Set on a scaffold in Giotto's studio, on the right Giotto is seated, painting Dante's profile as an old woman looks over the artist's shoulder. Dante sits to the left, and Guido Cavalcante stands behind him, leaning on his shoulder and holding an open book. In the lower right corner, below the scaffold, Beatrice and several other female figures walk past, holding lighted candles and open books.



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Hesterna Rosa

Hesterna Rosa

Figure: Pen and ink. Text in lower left corner: Dante Rossetti. Inside a tent, two men kneel and sit next to a short bench, perhaps gambling. A woman stands behind each of them, one gazing skyward, and the other turning her head and hiding her face. To the left, a young girl holds a lute, and to the right, a monkey scratches itself.



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Rosa , still in the possession of Mr. F. G. Stephens, to whom it was presented. 1 This was founded upon the plaintive song of Elena in Sir Henry Taylor's “Philip van Artevelde”:



  • “Quoth tongue of neither maid nor wife
  • To heart of neither wife nor maid,
  • ‘Lead we not here a jolly life
  • Betwixt the shine and shade?’


  • Quoth heart of neither maid nor wife
  • To tongue of neither wife nor maid,
  • ‘Thou wag'st but I am sore with strife,
  • And feel like flowers that fade.’”


The scene as shown in the illustration represents two gamblers throwing dice, and their mistresses, one of whom in a fit of shame is covering her face. She is the “yesterday's rose.” The other clasps her arms round the neck of her lover, and is singing a merry song. An innocent little child near by is touching a lute, and Rossetti has completed the other aspect of the scene by putting in an ape scratching itself, a Düreresque touch which he added also in the little Borgia group. This drawing was shown at the Pre-Raphaelite Exhibition in Russell Place, 1857, at Burlington House in 1883 (No. 334), and at the New Gallery in 1897-8 (No. 19). A water-colour version of the same subject was painted for Mr. Craven, of Manchester, or acquired by him, in 1865. This was exhibited at the Manchester Exhibition, 1882, and at the New Gallery, 1897-8. Rossetti's own description of the picture says: “The scene represented is a pleasure tent, at the close of a night's revel, now growing to dawn. . . . The effect is that of a lamp-light interior towards dawn, when (as also in twilight) all objects seem purely and absolutely blue by the contrast with the warm light therein.” A larger version, bearing the title Elena's Song , was painted in 1871.
The little water-colour sketch called Carlisle Wall , in the collection of the late Mr. Virtue Tebbs, belongs to 1853. It was simply named The Lovers originally, and the inscription states that it was done at Carlisle. Mr. Tebbs himself gave the picture the name it bears, probably because the rich sunset effect behind the lovers on the tower suggested to him the ballad line, “The sun shines red on Carlisle wall.” The picture first belonged to Madox Brown, and passed through two other hands at least before it reached its late owner. It was exhibited at Burlington House in 1883, and again at the New Gallery in 1897-8.
Transcribed Footnote (page 41):

1 The real date of the drawing is probably 1850. It was altered later and inscribed as “drawn in 1853.”

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This sketch was made during the course of a visit to William Bell Scott at Newcastle in June and July of 1853. Rossetti had made Bell Scott's acquaintance in the same way as he made Browning's and Madox Brown's, by the simple process of writing to him. He had seen some verses that he admired, and that was enough. For many years, indeed to the end of Rossetti's life, Bell Scott remained a staunch and helpful friend. Why in his reminiscences he should have recalled so many things to his friend's discredit  

Girl singing to a lute

Girl Playing a Lute.

Figure: Water color. A young girl in medieval dress plays a lute. Full figure, facing front.



and forgotten so many that were pleasant is hard to explain. At the period in question Rossetti must have been a delightful companion for anyone with a sense of humour and a not too rigid devotion to rules. His letters are of the gayest kind, rather in contrast to his pictures, which were apt from the very first to be sombre. He chaffs his sister Christina unmercifully for her supposed melancholy disposition, and illustrates his point with caricatures; his letters about patrons are almost scandalously flippant, and he makes fun of all his friends in turn with youthful impartiality and candour. That he was adored in his own circle is certain. The sober Hunt, when the emigration craze had begun to lay hold of the little group of struggling friends, and threatened to involve him also, thought first of the wrench of leaving Rossetti. “I know him,” he wrote, “to be in the same land somewhere, and that at any time he can be found out and spoken with if necessary, and that is enough.” Deverell worshipped him, and we shall see a little further on what Madox Brown, testy and sharp-tempered as he was, could put up with for his sake. This was the real Rossetti, before ill-health and a long course of vitiating drugs had wrecked his nervous system, and this is the Rossetti that we have to imagine in connection with one of the most brilliant groups of literary men and artists that this country has ever produced.
During his stay with Bell Scott Rossetti did not paint much.“I have made,” he writes, “a little water-colour of a woman in
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yellow, which I shall be able to sell, no doubt”—probably the sketch of a girl playing a lute, owned by Mrs. Constance Churchill, a friend of Ruskin's. After leaving Newcastle and the north he went to Coventry and walked thence to Stratford, an exceptional feat of energy for him. At Coventry he made a vigorous and amusing little pen-sketch of a girl trundling a baby in a sort of barrow, which fetched several guineas at the late Mr. Boyce's sale. This glimpse at the lighter side in art was also exceptional, and he emphasized it by writing to a relation: “Would it not make a capital picture of the domestic class, to represent a half dozen of girls racing the babies entrusted to their care—babies bewildered, out of breath, upset, sprawling at bottom of the barrow, etc., etc.!” A harrowing picture it would have been for mothers.
In connection with Mr. MacCracken he writes: “I replied to what he said about The House of John and told him that I should have no objection to paint something else instead, mentioning the two pictures I had in contemplation, viz., the Magdalene at the door of Simon and the town subject. . . . I also offered him the Dante water-colour, begun in London, for thirty-five guineas. This last he snatches at. . . .”
The “Dante water-colour” was the advanced version of his pen-and-ink design, Dante drawing the Angel on the Anniversary of Beatrice's Death ( reproduced page 36). After multitudinous negotiations this drawing actually passed into MacCracken's hands, and at his sale, in May, 1855, was bought by Mr. Thomas Combe, of Oxford. Rossetti, before the picture left him, worked on it for several months, improving it so much beyond his original idea that he says, “the stipulated thirty-five guineas is absurdly under its value now, and I think I must give MacCracken to understand as much.” In an explanatory letter, such as he was fond of sending with his pictures, Rossetti says that he had had “an idea of an intention of the possibility of a suggestion” that he would turn the lady visitor into Gemma Donati, whom Dante afterwards married, and so he meant to paint the Donati arms on her dress, but gave it up as impracticable. He also had a notion of connecting the same personage with the “Lady of Pity” who occurs in the “ Vita Nuova,” and whom he painted more than once later.
Of the other subjects mentioned above, Mary in the House of St. John was not committed to paper until about 1856, and Mary Magdalene a year later. The “town subject” is obviously Found . It is the starting of this great picture that makes the year 1853
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chiefly memorable in connection with Rossetti. Tradition has always had it that the subject—a countryman or drover recognizing in a fallen woman of the streets his own lost sweetheart—was founded on a ballad by William Bell Scott called “Rosabell”. Scott himself, in his strangely sour reminiscences, makes out some kind of grievance against Rossetti for professing to paint the poem  

Found

Figure: Pen and ink. Text across bottom: I remember thee; The kindness of thy youth, the love of thy betrothal. Jerem. II. 2. Text at center bottom: Found. Text in lower right corner: D.G.R. On the left, a young woman on a sidewalk crouches against a wall, turning her face away from a man on the right who grasps her arms, apparently trying to pull her to her feet. Behind him, to the right, the man's calf is trammeled to a cart.



and then not doing so; but in point of fact hardly any connection exists between picture and poem beyond the root of the subject-matter, and the picture was begun before the incident which Bell Scott mentions in support of his complaint.
Found was commissioned by MacCracken in 1853, and studies were made for it, notably the pen-and-ink sketches belonging to Col.
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Found

Found

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. On the left, a young woman crouches against a wall, turning her face away from a man on the right who grasps her arms, apparently trying to pull her to her feet. Behind him, to the right, the man's calf is trammeled to a cart.



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Gillum and Mr. Fairfax Murray, the latter of which is reproduced here. There were also various drawings for the figure of the man and the girl; but the picture was not properly begun until the following September, when Rossetti started painting the brick wall, at Chiswick, where his friends the Keightleys lived. A month later he installed himself with Brown, near Finchley, for the purpose of painting the calf in the cart which the countryman is taking to market. The details of this visit, and its inconvenience, are given in a characteristic passage from Brown's diary, which is so interesting for the general light thrown on Rossetti's methods and his easy-going relations with his friends, that I hope I may be excused for transplanting it from the collection of letters published by Mr. George Allen under the title “Ruskin, Rossetti, and Pre-Raphaelitism”:

“1854, September 5th. On Saturday . . . Rossetti came in the middle of the most broiling sun. I knew he must have come to get something. He wanted costumes to paint a water-colour of the Passover, this instead of setting to work on the picture for which he has been commissioned by McCrack since twelve months. His aunt has, moreover, given him £30, so that it is not for want of money. However, whatever he does is sure to be beautiful. But the rage for strangeness disfigures his ideas. . . .”

October 6th. Called on Dante Rossetti. Saw Miss Siddal, looking thinner and more deathlike and more beautiful and more ragged than ever; a real artist, a woman without parallel for many a long year. Gabriel as usual diffuse and inconsequent in his work. Drawing wonderful and lovely Guggums one after another, and his picture never advancing. However he is at the wall, and I am to get him a white calf and a cart to paint here; would he but study the golden one a little more. Poor Gabriello. . . .”

November 12th. Gabriel . . . getting on slowly with his calf. He paints in all like Albert Dürer, hair by hair, and seems incapable of any breadth; but this he will get by going over it from feeling at home. From want of habit I see Nature bothers him, but it is sweetly drawn and felt.”

November 27th. Saw Gabriel's calf; very beautiful, but takes a long time. Endless emendations, no perceptible progress from day to day, and all the time he wearing my greatcoat, which I want, and a pair of my breeches, besides food and an unlimited supply of turpentine.”

December 16th. Gabriel not having yet done his cart, and talking quite freely about several days yet, having been here since the 1st November, and not seeming to notice any hints. . . . Emma being within a week or two of her confinement, and he having had his bed made on the floor in the parlour one week now and not getting up till 11, besides my finances being reduced to £2 12 s. 6 d. which must last till 20th January, I told him delicately he must go, or go home at night by the 'bus. This he said was too expensive. I told him he might ride to his work in the morning and go home at night. This he said he should never think of. . . . So he is gone for the present.”

Found was never finished. “It was,” writes Mr. W. M. Rossetti,“a source of lifelong vexation to my brother and to the gentlemen, some three or four in succession, who commissioned him to finish it.” 1
Transcribed Footnote (page 45):

1 In a letter of November 13th, 1859, occurs the following: “Leathart of Newcastle has written me this morning settling a commission which he has now given me for the Found , at 350 guineas.”

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The perspective, always in elaborate compositions a difficulty for Rossetti, resolved itself into a checkmate at an early period, and though the figures were altered, and though Mr. Frederick Shields once made special studies for the pavement edges, nothing could be satisfactorily done with it. The wall, the girl's head, and the cart with the calf remained as an eloquent testimony of Rossetti's intense efforts to produce a really valuable modern picture, with a lesson in it, and these were of course priceless as mementos of his early work. Moreover, in his latest years he practically completed the group; so, after his death, Sir Edward Burne-Jones consented to give  

Found

Study for the Woman in Found.

Figure: Pen and ink with slight wash. Head and shoulders of a woman leaning on her right shoulder, her head turned to the right, with her eyes closed and her bonnet falling down on her shoulders.



a sort of finish to the picture by washing in blue sky, and this he has done all over the space where the churchyard railing was meant to come, showing that even this had been left blank. The pen-and-ink design reproduced here will make the details clearer. In its half-completed state the picture passed into the possession of Mr. William Graham, who had last commissioned it, and after his death it went to America.
Of the two finished pen-and-ink studies mentioned as belonging to Col. Gillum and Mr. Fairfax Murray, the former is probably the earlier. 1 It was exhibited at the Hogarth Club in 1859, at the
Transcribed Footnote (page 46):

1 There is a larger drawing than either of these in the possession of Mr. Rossetti, but it is of later date and probably done by an assistant.

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Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1883, and again at the New Gallery in 1897-8. Both are inscribed in Rossetti's hand with the verse from Jeremiah: “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, and the love of thy betrothal.” The following sonnet, one of Rossetti's latest ones, from “ Ballads and Sonnets,” also describes the picture:



  • “ ‘There is a budding morrow in midnight:”—
  • So sang our Keats, our English nightingale.
  • And here as lamps across the bridge turn pale
  • In London's smokeless resurrection-light,
  • Dark breaks to dawn. But o'er the deadly blight
  • Of love deflowered and sorrow of none avail
  • Which makes this man gasp and this woman quail,
  • Can day from darkness ever again take flight?


  • “Ah, gave not these two hearts their mutual pledge,
  • Under one mantle sheltered 'neath the hedge
  • In gloaming courtship? And, O God! to-day
  • He only knows he holds her;—but what part
  • Can life now take? She cries in her locked heart,
  • ‘Leave me—I do not know you—go away!’ ”
There was something in the air at the time which caused this everlasting and painful human problem to take strong hold of the entire group of “Pre-Raphaelite” poets and painters. Bell Scott, as we have seen, treated it pretty openly in his poem called“Rosabell” or “Mary Anne”. Holman Hunt painted it in a much-discussed picture, The Awakened Conscience . Rossetti sought to give expression to it in Found , and also in a different manner in “Jenny”, one of the earliest of his poems. The theme comes out in other work of his besides, as, for instance, in the Gate of Memory and in the drawing called Hesterna Rosa . Difficult as it is to treat delicately, the subject in Rossetti's hands never falls below a lofty level of reverence and pathos. Hood was not more sympathetic or pure-minded in his treatment of it. That “Jenny”, which breathes the very spirit of pitiful tenderness, should have been attacked later on the grounds of impurity is one of those incongruities of the journalistic mind which cannot rationally be accounted for.

A short note on Rossetti's movements during the period just covered may be useful. We left him in 1848, after a few months' work at Madox Brown's, sharing a studio with Holman Hunt in Cleveland Street, Soho, and painting at the Girlhood of the Virgin . This picture was finished in a studio which he shortly afterwards took for himself at No. 72, Newman Street, over a dancing academy familiarly referred to as “the hop shop.” The proprietor of the
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house going bankrupt, Rossetti's goods and those of a friend, the American poet Thomas Buchanan Read, by the harsh law of the time underwent distraint in August, 1850. Upon this Rossetti moved two doors away to No. 74 in the same street, where he remained until the beginning of 1851, when he took in common with Deverell the first floor rooms at No. 17, Red Lion Square—the rooms which Morris and Burne-Jones occupied subsequently from 1856 to 1859, and which served as a cradle for the famous firm. I forget which group of occupants it was that fled these rooms on account of “the bugs of Bloomsbury,” but in May of 1851 Rossetti gave notice to quit them, and for a time quartered himself once more upon Madox Brown at No. 17, Newman Street, near his old studio. It was at this time that he sat to Brown for the portrait of Chaucer, in the great picture of Chaucer reading his Legend of Custance at the Court of Edward III ., now in the Sydney Museum. The sitting was done in one night, lasting till four o'clock in the morning, and the head was not subsequently touched. Mr. William Rossetti says that his brother at the time was held to resemble Chaucer, also to some extent the Stratford bust of Shakespeare. He is most inclined, however, to agree with Mr. Knight, who suggests a resemblance to Salvini. Rossetti's next move was a more permanent one. In November, 1852, he took a set of rooms at 14, Chatham Place, Blackfriars, on a site now cleared away, overlooking the river and presenting other advantages. Here he remained for nearly ten years, including the brief two years of his married life, and here he accomplished what many judges consider the most interesting portion of his work. To those who knew Rossetti in his youthful days the Blackfriars rooms are a keen and poignant memory, bound up with one of the most attractive personalities it could ever have been their fortune to meet, and sweetened by the recollection of that other gracious presence, the frail and beautiful Miss Siddal. When Rossetti took these rooms he gave up, for the first time, living at home with his father and mother in Arlington Street, Mornington Crescent, whither the family had removed from Charlotte Street in 1851. He had, therefore, acquired a certain measure of independence as a painter, which went on increasing with each successive year as generous or wealthy patrons attached themselves. That his progress in this respect was slow, and that for many years he was reduced to selling water-colours of priceless beauty for comparatively trifling sums, was the result partly of a determination which he formed never to exhibit
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Sig. H
his work or allow it to be exhibited by others. This resolve, which later on became a sort of mania, is said to have been due in the first instance to the discouraging reception of Ecce Ancilla Domini in 1850. For a long time, of course, it prevented his being known at all or appreciated by possible purchasers, and his work circulated amongst a narrow circle of artistic friends, or was bought up by casual and temporary patrons, of whom he was lucky in securing a  

Elizabeth Siddal

Sketch of Miss Siddal.

Figure: Pencil. 3/4 length seated figure, facing an easel, head turned to the right. She holds a paintbrush in her right hand, and a maul-stick in her left.



fairly continuous series. In the days of his greatness it may have had an opposite effect by arousing curiosity, and producing a feeling of pique. Buyers were attracted towards a man who was notorious for despising the public eye, and whose work was spoken of with bated breath as something supremely precious. Those were not altogether Rossetti's best days. More patronage at the start would have increased the quantity and importance of his work during the period of his greatest inventiveness; whilst a little less at the finish
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would have removed the temptation, after his powers had begun to fail, of turning out replicas which did not interest him, and of which a good number, there is cause to suppose, were not even done by himself.
There were a few exceptions to his rule of seclusion which may as well be mentioned here, though they involve some anticipation of future chapters. In 1857 a small “Pre-Raphaelite Exhibition” was organized at No. 4, Russell Place, Fitzroy Square, to which Millais, Holman Hunt, Madox Brown, Arthur Hughes, W. L. Windus and others all sent pictures. Rossetti exhibited a water-colour Dante's Dream , Dante drawing the Angel , the pen-and-ink Hesterna Rosa , a Mary Magdalene at the Door of Simon , and a very beautiful little water-colour done in this year, the Blue Closet . In 1858, at the annual exhibition of the Liverpool Academy, a body which for many years was staunchly faithful to the Pre-Raphaelites, and which died for its allegiance, Rossetti exhibited the Dante's Dream again and two other water-colours, the Christmas Carol and Wedding of St. George . In this year the old Hogarth Club was founded, and Rossetti at first took some interest in its exhibitions. The earliest version of Lucretia Borgia was exhibited under these auspices, as was also the oil portrait called Bocca Baciata , and possibly other things as well. In 1862 the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh held an exhibition to which Rossetti sent for sale, from his studio in London, a study for Found called The Farmer's Daughter and a head in oils called Fair Rosamund . A few other pictures were exhibited in Glasgow (1878 and 1879), Liverpool (1864), and Edinburgh (1877); and the great Loan Exhibition in Manchester in 1882, the last year of Rossetti's life, included no fewer than nine subjects by his hand—the greatest number ever exhibited together up to that date. With these exceptions, and possibly one or two others of minor importance, it is essential to remember that Rossetti's work was absolutely unseen by the public, who became acquainted with him as a poet long before they knew him even dimly as a painter. The effects of this ignorance are still discernible. Even after two great exhibitions of his works in London, and after the publication of a wide selection from his designs, there are people who believe that Rossetti never painted but from one model, and that all his pictures are distinguished by impossible lips and a goitrous development of neck.
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Elizabeth Siddal

Miss Siddal: From a Drawing at South Kensington Museum

Figure: Pen and ink. Full-length figure standing, with her face turned to her right. Her left hands rests on a window ledge, and her right hand is on a table slightly behind her.



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CHAPTER IV

FRIENDSHIP WITH RUSKIN.—MARRIAGE, AND

DEATH OF MRS. ROSSETTI
WITH the year 1854 Rossetti's life entered upon a new phase. This was the first year of his memorable connection with Ruskin, some details of which have recently been placed before the world in the form of letters. At the same time he had by now engaged himself to marry Miss Siddal, whose companionship and whose health became, for the next eight years, the most absorbing facts in his private life. To speak of Ruskin first, his was no ordinary friendship, but a curious combination of patron, friend, and mentor, not a little suggestive of the benevolent god in the background of a classical drama. If Rossetti had been a common man, living an orderly life and working on regular lines, such a connection would have been, as he jocularly described it at first, “in a way to make his fortune.” For Ruskin was willing to buy within certain limits almost everything that Rossetti produced, or to sell it to others, and was ever ready to propose congenial themes. Furthermore, having taken a great fancy to Miss Siddal, and admiring her poetic and artistic gifts, which had grown in a remarkable way under Rossetti's tuition, he tried to make an arrangement whereby he should purchase all her work also, paying a minimum sum of £150 a year. For a long time, in fact, this arrangement was carried out. In Miss Siddal's precarious state of health, necessitating constant change with periods of rest, such a proposition was obviously a tactful way of offering to contribute towards her expenses; and there is no doubt that Ruskin's help at this critical period was invaluable, and that without it the young couple would have suffered even more struggling times than they did. For Rossetti was hopelessly and heedlessly unthrifty, flush of money one day, out-at-elbows the next, borrowing from the needy Brown, putting off the day of repayment, and invariably anticipating
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with the greatest ingenuity any money to be earned from commissions. One of the Ruskin letters, besides being typical in itself of the writer, throws a momentary flash of light upon this butterfly existence:



“? Oct
., 1855.

“DEAR ROSSETTI,

“You are a very odd creature, that's a fact. I said I would find funds for you to go into Wales to draw something I wanted. I never said I would for you to go to Paris, to disturb yourself and other people, and I won't. . . .

“I am ill-tempered to-day—you are such absurd creatures both of you. I don't say you do wrong, because you don't seem to know what is wrong, but do just whatever you like as far as possible—as puppies and tomtits do.However, as it is so, I must think for you—and first, I can't have you going to Paris, nor going near Ida, 1 till you have finished those drawings, and Miss Heaton's too. You can't do anything now but indoors, and the less you excite Ida the better. Positively, if you go to Paris I will; but you won't go, I'm sure, when you know I seriously don't think it right. I will advance you what you want on this drawing, but only on condition it goes straight on.



“Most truly yours,

“J. RUSKIN.”
Rossetti seems to have gone to Paris and to have enjoyed meeting the Brownings there, after which the incident drops. No one can read these letters of Ruskin's without feeling that there breathes through them a spirit of wonderful generosity and kindness, unmixed with a single mean thought or secondary motive. He never tried to get a drawing more cheaply than the market price, or to sell it at a higher without sending the difference to the artist. The wiles of the bargainer were foreign to him, and even in conferring kindnesses he is at evident pains to conceal the obligation. On the other hand he had, in private as well as in his writings, a vigorous mode of expression not always meant to be taken seriously, and a dogmatic way of criticising what he did not like, and of suggesting alterations, which some men might not have resented, but which Rossetti in time could not bring himself to bear. The next letter to the one just quoted is an instance in point:



“DEAR ROSSETTI,

“ I have been mighty poorly. . . . Coming to scratch again gradually. Please oblige me in one or two matters or you will make me ill again. Take all the pure green out of the flesh in the Nativity I send, and try to get it a little less like worsted work by Wednesday, when I will send for it. I want the Archdeacon of Salop, who is coming for some practical talk over religious art for the multitude, to see it. . . .”

On this occasion we hear later: “ Nativity is much mended. Many thanks;” but the result of carrying out Ruskin's suggestions
Transcribed Footnote (page 52):

1 The pet-name given by Ruskin to Miss Siddal, from some allusion to Tennyson's Princess.

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Robert Browning

Robert Browning. 1855

Figure: Watercolor. Text in upper left corner: October. Text in upper right corner: 1855. Browning's head. facing to the right.



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too literally was not always satisfactory, as the following pair of letters will show:

“I think I like that duet between Ida and you better than anything you have done for me yet, for it has no faults and is full of power—except and always that man with boots and lady with golden hair. 1I have sent your Beatrice 2 to-day to somebody who will like to look at it; it will be sent or brought to you on Monday. Please leave word about reception of it if you must go out. Please put a dab of Chinese white into the hole in the cheek and paint it over. People will say that Beatrice has been giving the other bridesmaids apredestinate scratched face; also a white-faced bridesmaid behind is very ugly to look at—like a skull or body in corruption. Also please ask Hunt about young fool who wants grapes, and his colour of sleeve. Then—I will tell you where this drawing is to be sent next to be lectured upon, and am affectionately yours,

“JOHN RUSKIN.”



“DEAR ROSSETTI,

“ I suppose the girl who let me in was up to telling you what I had said, and to showing you what I had done. I had told her to tell you that I was in such a passion that I was like to tear everything in the room to pieces at your daubing over the head in that picture; and that it was no use to me now until you had painted it in again. And I told her to show you that I had carried off the Passover instead. . . . How you could think I could care to look at it with any pleasure in that mess, I can't think. Before, the whole thing was explained—there was only a white respirator before the mouth. You have deprived me of a great pleasure by your absurdity. I never, so long as I live, will trust you to do anything again, out of my sight.”

“You are a conceited monkey,” he writes once more on a similar occasion, when an alteration had displeased him, “thinking your pictures right when I tell you positively they are wrong. What do you know about the matter, I should like to know?”
Still, against such episodes as this must be set the genuine admiration which Ruskin had for Rossetti's work of this period and up to, perhaps, 1865, when he had practically abandoned the romantic compositions of his youth, with all their charm and
Transcribed Footnote (page 53):

1 “Duet between Ida and you,” possibly (?) the Paolo and Francesca triptych. “Man with boots and lady with golden hair,” the Belle Dame sans Mercy ; also described generically in another letter as The Man with his Blue Wife. Ruskin had a humorous way of referring to his drawings in this style which is rather puzzling, and must be very much so to those unacquainted with the pictures and their dates.

Transcribed Footnote (page 53):

2 The Beatrice referred to here, and in many of Ruskin's letters of 1855-56, must be a copy made from the Beatrice at a Wedding Feast denying her Salutation to Dante , which belongs to Mr. H. T. Wells, R.A. ( see page 36). The latter was painted at least by 1852, in which year it was brought to Mr. Wells by the late Mr. Thomas Seddon, together with the Giotto painting Dante . Rossetti, being at the time hard up for money, was anxious to sell these two drawings, and Mr. Wells took one and Mr. Seddon the other. The price asked and paid for them was about £10 each. They are amongst the finest specimens of Rossetti's early work. At about the date of these letters, Rossetti seems to have borrowed the Beatrice from Mr. Wells to copy for Ruskin, and the criticisms just quoted refer to the copy. In Ruskin, Rossetti, and Pre-Raphaelitism they are made to refer to the original water-colour, which is reproduced by way of illustration, but which certainly has never been altered in the manner described. The copy has gone, I find, to Mr. Ruskin's old friend, Prof. C. E. Norton, of Harvard.

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naïveté, and adopted riper and more sophisticated methods of expression. This admiration has been fully recorded in his serious writings and lectures,—as for instance when he says:

“ I believe that Rossetti's name should be placed first on the list of men, within my own range of knowledge, who have raised and changed the spirit of modern art; raised in absolute attainment, changed in direction of temper.”

Nor was Rossetti, though he may have chafed often enough at the criticisms lavished upon his work and methods, a backward or half-hearted friend. He speaks in a family letter of Ruskin as the best friend, with one or two exceptions, that he had ever made, and up to the limits of his capricious nature he evidently took genuine pains to please him. The fact of the intimacy lasting a full eight years proves this. It came to an end gradually and without any open disagreement, from the purely natural circumstance that Rossetti was developing upon his own lines and had too much independence to subject his genius permanently to the fixed ideas of any critic, however eminent. 1 Other causes as well may have helped to determine the inevitable. Marriage, especially in the case of self-absorbed natures, is an effectual solvent of old ties; and in addition to marriage Rossetti had his constant anxiety for his wife's health to occupy him. So it came about that the two fell apart, and whether we should count it loss or gain we cannot entirely tell, saving as a matter of sentiment. The long duration of the intercourse, and its closeness for so many years, are points to be borne in mind in judging of Rossetti's character; for an unfair impression of him might easily be got from the Ruskin letters, which, besides revealing only one side of the correspondence, are so scattered in date as to convey a false idea of the length of time they cover, and by consequence a false idea of the rapidity of the dénoûment.
A difficulty about the friendship with Ruskin which cost Rossetti some unpleasantness was the marked antipathy existing
Transcribed Footnote (page 54):

1 Mr. W. M. Rossetti in his “ Memoir,” vol. i., p. 261, mentions letters from Ruskin which show that in 1865, although there had been a considerable divergence over the painting of Venus Verticordia , which the critic frankly detested, no positive breach of friendship had occurred. One letter ends: “You meant them—the first and second (letters)—just as rightly as this pretty third; and yet they conclusively showed me that we could not at present—nor for some time yet—be companions any more, though true friends, I hope, as ever. I do not choose any more to talk to you until you can recognize my superiorities as I can yours. You simply do not see certain characters in me. A day may come when you will be able; then—without apology, without restraint, merely as being different from what you are now—come back to me, and we will be as we used to be.” After this the two men scarcely saw each other, though even as late as 1870 they were exchanging perfectly amicable correspondence.

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between the critic and Madox Brown, which Rossetti tried in vain to bridge over. Ruskin ignored Brown's pictures, and Brown, who was vain and touchy for such a great man, whether he suffered directly or not, felt the slight very deeply. In company, where the two were often bound to meet, he could with difficulty prevail upon himself to be civil, and Rossetti finally had to accept the circumstances, and veil all mention of his new acquaintance in jocular allusions to the “Great Prohibited.”
Before passing from the subject of Ruskin it is interesting to note that he enlisted Rossetti as an active helper in the scheme promoted by Frederick Denison Maurice for bringing art into the East end.
In Rossetti's “Letters to William Allingham,” edited by Dr. Birkbeck Hill, this episode in the painter's life is referred to many times:

October 15 th, 1854. “Ruskin is back. . . . He has written to me saying he wants to consult with me about plans for ‘teaching the masons’; so you may soon expect to find every man shoulder his hod, ‘with upturned fervid face and hair put back.’”

November.“Perhaps you know that he [Ruskin] has joined Maurice's scheme for a Working Men's College, which has now begun to be put in operation at 31, Red Lion Square. Ruskin has most liberally undertaken a drawing class, which he attends every Thursday evening. . . . He is most enthusiastic about it, and has so infected me that I think of offering an evening weekly for the same purpose when I am settled in town again.”

January 23 rd, 1855.“I began my class last night at the Working Men's College: it is for the figure, quite a separate thing from Ruskin's, who teaches foliage. I have set one of them as a model to the rest till they can find themselves another model . . . some of them, two or three, show unmistakable aptitute—almost more than one could ever have hoped for.”

Rossetti kept on his class for very nearly four years, and then it was taken over by Madox Brown. His method of teaching has been described by one who attended his lectures, and who himself derived benefit from them. He began at once with colour. As in his own personality and his own work, light and shade, drawing, and everything else was subservient to colour. Without troubling about the grammar of design he gave his pupils nature to copy and showed them how to copy it. In his own pithy language he wrote to a friend: “You think I have turned humanitarian, but you should see my class for the model! None of your Freehand Drawing Books used! The British mind is brought to bear on the British mug at once, and with results that would astonish you.” A later generation has come to see wisdom in Rossetti's method, and has introduced it under government auspices in elementary schools.
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Moreover, throughout our educational system the autocratic rule of grammar is being more and more relaxed, so that almost we may look forward to a time when the great authors of the classical period will be read primarily for themselves, and not secondarily as a medium for illustrating the use of the subjunctive.
Ruskin's admiration for Miss Siddal and her work has already been mentioned, and is abundantly evident in the letters of this period. In one from Rossetti to Brown, dated April, 1855, the  

The Quest of the Grail

The Quest of the Grail. By Miss Siddal.

Figure: Oil. In a water-filled sepulcher, a young knight kneels in a small boat, flanked by two young female angels. He has just washed his hands in a basin held by one of the angels, and he gazes at the grail held by the other.



painter describes how Ruskin had thought her a noble glorious creature, and how his father had said that by her look and manner she might have been a countess. In another, to Allingham, he says: “About a week ago Ruskin saw and bought on the spot every scrap of designs hitherto produced by Miss Siddal. He declared that they were far better than mine, or almost than anyone's, and seemed quite wild with delight at getting them. . . . He is going to have them splendidly mounted and bound together in gold, and no doubt this will be a real opening for her, as it is already a great assistance
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Sig. I
and encouragement.” Miss Siddal's failing health, however, shortly afterwards put an end to her productiveness, and with the exception of one or two small water-colours, very much in Rossetti's own style as regards colouring, she painted no pictures. Her designs are, however, of great interest, both on their own account, for the imaginative insight they display, and because Rossetti often worked on them, and occasionally even borrowed her ideas. In the case of the well-known illustration of St. Cecily, for instance, done for  

The Woeful Victory

The Woeful Victory. By Miss Siddal.

Figure: Pen and ink. In the foreground, a young knight lies dead, while another knight kneels directly behind him, and his attendant stands by holding a horse's reins. Behind this trio, a young woman and a young man stand in a tournament box. The young man stares at her as she looks away from the dead knight and hands the kneeling knight his prize.



Tennyson's “Palace of Art”, it is far from unlikely that Rossetti's design for the central figure was borrowed from Miss Siddal. Her drawings for it exist. The water-colour called The Quest of the Grail , which used to belong to Mr. Ruskin, and which is reproduced here by the kind permission of Mr. Arthur Severn, to whom he gave it, is a very typical instance of her richness in invention and also of the way in which Rossetti used to help her. It is signed “E. E. S. inv.: E. E. S. et D. G. R. del.” Another drawing by Miss Siddal
Transcribed Footnote (page 57):

1 This drawing was exhibited at the New Gallery in 1897-8 in the name of Rossetti.

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which I have reproduced, from Mr. W. M. Rossetti's negative, is called The Woeful Victory , and has an especial interest in being (there is reason to suppose) intended for an illustration to Rossetti's poem, “The Bride's Prelude”. As will be seen, the lady is turning away her head as she gives the prize of victory to the knight who has slain her lover. Two other very interesting designs will be found in the “Letters to William Allingham.” A few poems by Miss Siddal which have been preserved show the same delicacy of insight and feeling that is present in her drawings, together with the same incomplete maturity of expression.
Her life, so much as we know of it, was passive and singularly free from adventure. Wrapped up in Rossetti, as he was in her, she varied the monotony of her confined existence by occasional changes of air at Hastings, Matlock, Bath, or Clevedon in Somersetshire, with one longer trip abroad in the winter and early spring of 1855-6. During the intervals she worked in Rossetti's studio at Chatham Place, Blackfriars, or sat to him for endless studies, concerning which Madox Brown's diary of 1855 contains the following passage: “He (Rossetti) showed me a drawer full of ‘Guggums’; God knows how many, but not bad work I should say for the six years he has known her. It is like a monomania with him. Many of them are matchless in beauty, however, and one day will be worth large sums.”
In 1860 Rossetti and Miss Siddal carried out their long projected plans of matrimony, which had been delayed by uncertain prospects, and perhaps also by a final want of resolution on Rossetti's part. In a private letter to his mother, dated Hastings, April 13, 1860, he says:

“I write this word to say that Lizzy and I are going to be married at last, in as few days as possible. . . . Like all the important things I ever meant to do—to fulfil duty or secure happiness—this one has been deferred almost beyond possibility. I have hardly deserved that Lizzy should still consent to it, but she has done so, and I trust I may still have time to prove my thankfulness to her. . . . The constantly failing state of her health is a terrible anxiety indeed; but I must still hope for the best, and am at any rate in a better position to take the step, as regards money prospects, than I have ever been before.”

After still further delays, on account of Miss Siddal's health, the marriage took place on May 23rd, 1860, and the young couple went for their wedding trip to Paris and Boulogne. On their return they took a cottage at Hampstead, while the rooms at Chatham Place were extended by opening a door into the adjoining house. The independent bachelor habits to which both were accustomed
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Elizabeth Siddal

Miss Siddal: From a Drawing in the Possession of H.T. Wells, R.A.

Figure: Pencil. Text in lower left corner: D.G.R. Blackfriars. To the left, a full-length figure stands 3/4 front leaning on a chair back and gazing at a picture on an easel. Behind her is a window, through which Blackfriars Bridge and the Thames are seen.



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made life as Bohemian and irregular after marriage as before it. Men friends came and went as they pleased; tavern dinners relieved the strain of studio work, and little if any respect was paid to the conventions of social intercourse. Mrs. Rossetti's delicate health alone made it impossible for her to go about much, except amongst devoted and intimate friends, the chief of whom in these days perhaps were Algernon Charles Swinburne and the Madox Brown and Morris families. The acquaintance with the first and last mentioned of these dates from the Oxford episode of 1857-8, which there will be occasion to deal with in reviewing Rossetti's work during the years so  

D.G. Rossetti sitting to                         Elizabeth Siddal

Rossetti Sitting to Miss Siddal.

Figure: Pen and ink. Text in lower right corner: Sept. 1853 D.G.R. Full-length profile of two seated figures. To the left, DGR sits facing Elizabeth, his feet propped on a chair seat. The back of this chair serves as an easel, as Lizzie leans over her work, scrutinizing DGR as she sketches.



briefly outlined in the foregoing pages. In May, 1861, Mrs. Rossetti gave birth to a child, still-born, and her slow recovery, added to the phthisical troubles with which she was afflicted, induced a severe and wearing form of neuralgia. For this she was prescribed laudanum, of which, on the night of February 10, 1862, she unhappily took an overdose. Poor Rossetti, on returning home from the Working Men's College, where he had been lecturing, found his wife already past recovery, and, frantic with anxiety, rushed off to Highgate Rise to summon the ever-ready assistance of Madox Brown. The following morning she died, after but two years of married life clouded with illness; and for a time at least her loss deprived Rossetti of all capacity for work and almost of all interest in his art. The most
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touching event in his whole career of swift and flame-like emotions is the sudden impulse which led him, as his wife's coffin was being closed, to bury in her beautiful hair of gold the drafts of all his early poems, which at her request he had copied into a little book. Scenes  

Elizabeth Siddal

Miss Siddal. October, 1856.

Figure: Pencil. Text in lower right: D.G.R. Weymouth St. Oct. 1856. Full-length figure angled to the left as she reclines in an arm-chair, her eyes closed, her hands clasped, and her head resting on a pillow.



such as these are not suited for a biographer, still less for one who is only concerned with biography in so far as it binds and illustrates the artistic record. Some poets might dare to touch them; but no poet yet has tried to put into words the dramatic intensity of grief which was expressed in this now historic sacrifice to the memory of Rossetti's dead wife.
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Arthur's Tomb

King Arthur's Tomb

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water color. Text in lower right corner: D.G.R. 1854 Arthur's Tomb. Water color. Full-length painting of two figures in a grove next to a tomb, beneath some short leafy trees. Guenevere kneels before the side of Arthur's tomb with her hands raised before her face to deter Launcelot's kiss. The knight stands leaning over the head of the king's tomb, attempting to kiss Guenevere.



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CHAPTER V

WORK FROM 1854 TO 1857
ROSSETTI'S work, during the earlier part of the period we have been glancing through, was of a particularly interesting, and towards the latter end of a sufficiently varied character. In range of subject it belongs to the category described in Chapter III.,  

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

D.G. Rossetti, by Himself. September, 1855.

Figure: Pen and ink. Inscribed lower right: "Sept 20 1855." Head and shoulders of a youthful D.G.R., with a moustache and goatee. His head is turned slightly to right.



with the important addition that now for the first time is added to his sources of romantic inspiration the “Morte Darthur” of Sir Thomas Malory. This cycle of old Celtic legends had been for many years practically a sealed book in England, and its wide popularity to-day is largely owing to the interest revived in it by Rossetti, and later by the famous group of Oxford friends, including William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Tennyson became infected from the same source, and produced the first set of the “Idylls Of the King” in 1859; but Rossetti had become acquainted with Malory by 1854, which is the date of that strange, sad little water-colour, King Arthur's Tomb , representing, in an imaginary scene, Launcelot bidding a last farewell to Guenevere. Bending across the marble effigy of the dead prince is the gaunt figure of Launcelot, beseeching a kiss from the
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queen, who, repentant now, and clad in mourning garments, crouches by the tomb and repels his unhallowed love. In the background is the knight's charger, ready caparisoned for his journey, and as if from an instinctive sense of contrast, to heighten the dramatic effect, a sunny smiling orchard enfolds and beautifies the scene. This little drawing was first purchased by Ruskin, who gave it away because he complained that in the course of some retouching Rossetti had “scratched out the eyes.” Shortly afterwards it passed into the hands of Mr. Morris, who might almost have lent his features for Sir Launcelot. It came later still into the magnificent collection of Mr. William Graham, which was broken up in 1886, and now belongs to Mr. S. Pepys Cockerell, who has kindly allowed it to be photographed and reproduced for this work. With the exception of some portraits, including a newly-discovered head of Miss Siddal in water-colour, probably the first done and unhappily a good deal faded, only one other drawing by Rossetti, to my knowledge, bears date 1854—a little sketch of The Queen's Page , from Heine, done for William Allingham to illustrate his translation of the lyric. The fact is that Rossetti had in hand a large number of pen-and-ink drawings and water-colours, which were continually put on one side as fresh work accumulated or fresh ideas crowded into his restless brain, and were often not finished until many years later. I have not seen it mentioned before, but the statement can easily be verified, that many, if not most, of Rossetti's later pictures were planned during these early strenuous years of his life. No one will ever know what piles of unused studies and drawings were destroyed in the periodic excavations of his studio, or during his frequent removals, but one visitor of about this time, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, has recorded his amazement at the number which littered the floor and every available corner. Mr. William Rossetti inherited a valuable collection of such relics, many of which, however, were sold in 1883 or subsequently. The best as well as the largest collection now is that of Mr. Fairfax Murray, who has the advantage of being a recognized authority on Rossetti's work, as well as the possessor of an unrivalled aggregation of his early drawings and manuscripts. Among the pencil sketches and studies so preserved are several which show that Rossetti had in his mind at the time the composition of works which were not executed for many years afterwards. Here, for instance, we find in embryo, committed to paper during the early fifties, Morning Music (painted 1864), Hamlet and Ophelia (1858), My Lady Greensleeves (1859), Tibullus and Delia (1867), Fight for a Woman (1865), Mary Magdalene at the Door of Simon (1858), Saluto di Beatrice (1859), Proserpine (1871), and The Boat of Love , from a sonnet by Dante to Guido Cavalcanti, taken up late in life and still unfinished in 1880.
In addition to these designs, which were all carried out more or  

Design for an unknown subject

Design for a Picture, Not Executed.

Figure: Pencil. Full length sketch of three figures. A young woman in profile kneels, looking out a window on the left with her hands clasped in prayer. To the left of her, another young woman plays a lute, while a third young woman sits or kneels behind the first, cradling what is perhaps another musical instrument in her arms.



less completely, are several others which were not. Some of the latter, though it is not always easy to identify their subjects, evidently occupied Rossetti's thoughts for a considerable time, as they are repeated in various forms; and a few are interesting enough to be worth description and illustration on their own account. The first, which is reproduced by Mr. Murray's permission, represents a lady kneeling at a low prie-dieu before a window and two other figures
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kneeling by her. A large and carefully-worked nude study was made for the centre figure, which Mr. Murray also has. The second, from the same source, might seem to refer to a Dantesque incident from the appearance of the figure on the left; but which I am unable to determine. It was repeated with variations two or three times. In addition to these, Mr. Murray has a very interesting little sketch  

Design for an unknown subject

Design for a Picture, Not Executed.

Figure: Pencil. Four full-length figures. A seated woman supports a boy sitting on her lap, encircling his head and waist with her arms. To the right, a man looks over the woman's shoulder at a seated figure on the left, who tends to the boy's hand. Behind the man, the outlines for two additional figures are lightly sketched.



illustrating the “Ballata” of Guido Cavalcanti which Rossetti has translated in his Early Italian Poets —the one beginning:



  • “Being in thought of love, I chanced to see
  • Two youthful damozels.”


The poet and the maidens are represented meeting at a well in the foreground of the picture, and Love goes up the street beyond them, drawing the hearts of ladies who look out from the windows. The first words of the poem, in Italian, are inscribed on a corner of the drawing.
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Sig. K
The Design for an Old Ballad , in pen-and-ink—illustrating the pathetic story of “Fair Annie” and her generous sister—may be classed among these instances of subjects which Rossetti thought out but never painted; and so may the drawings of Giorgione and Fra Angelico painting , the Parable of Love (a lady drawing her own portrait from a mirror whilst her lover guides her hand), and Dante at Verona , a study for one side of the triptych which was to include the incident of Giotto painting Dante's portrait, already described and illustrated. With all these conflicting subjects to occupy Rossetti's thoughts, with many months spent upon Found , and  

Ballad of Fair Annie

Design for a Ballad.

Figure: Pen and ink. Full-length sketch of three figures. To the right, two young women in profile embrace, while to the left, a baby sleeps peacefully in a niche in a wall above a bunk bed.



taking into consideration as well those drawers-full of “wonderful and lovely” Miss Siddals, which Madox Brown and Ruskin so admired, it is not to be wondered at that the actual finished work of these early years was sparse in quantity and slight in quality—much slighter, for instance, than the two religious paintings with which he had begun his career. On the other hand, for many people these little water-colours of Rossetti's second period, despite their quaintness, hard colouring, and occasional faults of drawing or design, have a charm of their own that nothing in his larger and more elaborated later work can recall. Many of them besides are flawless examples of work, and exhibit none of the defects just mentioned.
In the early part of 1854 Rossetti had written to Ruskin that
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he was occupied with ideas for three subjects, Found , Mary Magdalene at the Door of Simon , and another which is not named in the reply, but which from the context I infer to have been the water-colour diptych of Paolo and Francesca da Rimini . In August of the same year he wrote to William Allingham that he was at work on a Hamlet and Ophelia , “deeply symbolical of course,” and predestined for the folio which Millais had presented, and which was still supposed to be in circulation among the members of a select sketching club. About the same time he submitted to Ruskin two designs [design 1] [design 2] for The Passover , one of which was chosen to be begun at once, while Ruskin also commissioned seven drawings from the Purgatorio, of which one certainly, Matilda gathering Flowers , was very shortly put in hand. None of these undertakings saw the light for at least another year; the Hamlet not for four or five. The Matilda was finished first and delivered in September, 1855, and on the 2nd December Madox Brown records in his diary, apropos Miss Siddal being stranded in Paris without money, “Gabriel, who saw that none of the drawings on the easel could be completed before long, began a fresh one, Francesca da Rimini , in three compartments; worked day and night, finished it in a week, got thirty-five guineas for it from Ruskin, and started off to relieve them.” This was the earliest version of a subject that Rossetti returned to more than once, representing in one compartment the lovers' kiss, and in the second their two souls floating clasped together in Hell through a rain of pale sulphurous flames. Between the compartments are two figures meant for Dante and Virgil, and the words “O Lasso!” A more elaborately finished version of the complete picture was painted in 1862 for Mr. Leathart, and a copy of the first compartment only, a drawing of singular loveliness and power, was sold to Mr. Graham in 1861. This will be further described under the latter date. A pencil study for one compartment only, dated 1854, belongs to Mr. J. A. R. Munro, but hardly counts as a finished picture. Mr. Sharp in his not always accurate book on Rossetti describes the pencil drawing as belonging to Mr. Ruskin and a replica of the Leathart picture as having been done for Mr. Rae. As a matter of fact it is the Ruskin early water-colour that belongs to Mr. Rae, and the Leathart picture ( here reproduced) was the replica. The latter remains in the possession of Mr. T. H. Leathart. The Graham picture is now the property of Mr. W. R. Moss, of Bolton, Lancashire, who has kindly allowed it to be engraved for this work. ( See Chap. VI.) Within the same period, viz., by October, 1855, another Dante subject, The Vision of Rachel and
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Paolo and Francesca da                         Rimini

Diptych: Paolo and Francesca da Rimini

Figure: Water color triptych. Text in left compartment: “Quanti dolci pensier Quanto disio.” Text in central compartment: “O lasso!” Text in right compartment: “Menò costor al doloroso passo!” In left compartment, two lovers seated before a bottle-glass window kiss, holding hands while a book lies open on the young woman's lap. In the central compartment, two men in dark robes stand 3/4 front, looking toward the right compartment. In the right compartment, the two lovers embrace, floating through drops of flame in hell.



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Dante's Vision of Rachel and                         Leah

Dante's Vision of Rachel and Leah

Figure: Water color. Two full-length women in long dark dresses in front of a stone wall and a wooded area, on either side of a water-filled stone basin. The left figure wears a cape and veil as she sits on the wall, her hands at her sides, gazing downward, perhaps at her reflection. To the right, another downward-gazing young woman stands holding a spray of flowers and vines which cascade over the basin onto the ground at her feet.



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Leah , was taken up and completed. For this Ruskin paid “thirty guineas instead of twenty asked,” and afterwards parted with it to Miss Heaton, of Leeds, an early patron whom he introduced to Rossetti's work. It is now in the possession of Mr. Beresford Heaton.
Matilda gathering Flowers , which forms a sort of companion to The Vision of Rachel and Leah , I have never seen, and its whereabouts  

Dante's Vision of Rachel and                         Leah

Study for Rachel.

Figure: Pencil. Full-length sketch of a young woman seated on a high bench, with her torso turned to her left. Her hands are clasped on her left knee, and she gazes downward.



are unknown to me. The latter picture, as will be seen, represents two young girls at a fountain. The one to the left is in purple, sitting on the well, the other in bright green, holding a spray of honeysuckle which trails all over the stonework. Beyond is a buttercup meadow, with a little stream meandering through it, and at the back is an orchard. Dante, in the distance to the spectator's left, contemplates the graceful scene, which is, by the way, of a typically English, and most un-Oriental character. Madox Brown has the following record in his diary, under the date August 15, 1855: “Rossetti still here, painting at his drawing of Rachel and Leah . I suggested his putting in Dante in the distance and sundry great improvements, and now he is in spirits with it and will ask £5 more for it.” As already mentioned he obtained ten. The little study in pencil for one of the figures was drawn from Miss Siddal.
The Passover drawing, referred to in one of Ruskin's letters in the last chapter, is a small, unfinished, but highly interesting water-colour, in which once more Rossetti has treated the domestic life of the Holy Family with a reverent freedom from conventionality, such as Millais used in the Carpenter's Shop and Holman Hunt in the Finding of Christ in the Temple . This time the incident represented is an imaginary one, the sprinkling of blood upon the lintels, with Mary gathering bitter herbs for the Passover. The scene, to quote
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Rossetti's own description, “is in the house porch, where Christ (as a boy) holds a bowl of blood from which Zacharias is sprinkling the posts and lintel. Joseph has brought the lamb and Elizabeth lights the pyre. The shoes which John fastens, and the bitter herbs which Mary is gathering, form part of the ritual.” It will be seen that the whole idea is full of allegory, the part assigned to the characters being generally chosen from some special allusion to the future. Ruskin, however, who seized the drawing and bore it away in an unfinished state lest worse should befall, after that unhappy difference about the Beatrice , refused to recognize this. Patmore, he says, in reply to some letter, “is very nice; but what the mischief does he mean by Symbolism? I call that Passover plain prosy Fact. No Symbolism at all.” The two pencil drawings, [drawing 1] [drawing 2] showing the alternative pictures offered, also belonged to Ruskin and were much admired by him. They are now at Oxford, in the possession of Sir Henry Acland, who has kindly allowed them to be reproduced. [drawing 1] [drawing 2] The Passover was one of Rossetti's very earliest designs, having been sketched out first as far back as 1849; it was the one selected for a memorial window to Rossetti in the church at Birchington-on-Sea, where he was buried, the adaptation for purposes of stained glass being carried out by Mr. Frederick Shields. The unfinished water-colour is the only one of Rossetti's drawings which Mr. Ruskin still retains in his possession, all the many others which once belonged to him having been given away, exchanged, or sold.
Other drawings which are dated, or were finished by 1855, though they may have been in hand considerably earlier, are The Nativity (done in a week and sold to Ruskin for fifteen guineas: see page 52), La Belle Dame sans Mercy , and the Annunciation , all water-colours, of which the two last were acquired by the late Mr. George Price Boyce, and formed part of his fine collection. After the sale of his pictures in 1897, La Belle Dame , with others, came into the possession of Mr. Fairfax Murray, but the Annunciation was retained by Mrs. Boyce. It never belonged to Mr. Ruskin, as has generally been stated, but was much admired by him.In it the Virgin (done from Miss Siddal) is represented washing clothes in a stream, 1 whilst the angel Gabriel stands with folded wings between two trees hard by, on which he leans his hands. Both are in white, and the whole picture shows a strong effect of sunlight. The inscription put upon it by Rossetti was, “My beloved is mine and I
Transcribed Footnote (page 68):

1 Compare the line in Rossetti's “Ave”.

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The Passover in the Holy                             Family: Gathering Bitter Herbs.

Design for The Passover: Gathering Bitter Herbs

Figure: Pencil. Five full-length figures outside a small hut, variously kneeling and bending over to gather herbs.



 

The Passover in the Holy                             Family: (Eating of the Passover).

Design for The Eating of the Passover: Unexecuted

Figure: Pencil. Six figures around a table, standing and kneeling, all holding staves.



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am his; he feedeth among the lilies. Hail thou that art highly favoured; blessed art thou among women.
With regard to the drawing of La Belle Dame sans Mercy —which, in spite of its name, does not immediately suggest the well-known Keats ballad—there is some room for ingenious speculation. The title, it is true, ante-dated its execution, and belonged as well to a little sepia sketch of the subject given to an early friend, the  

Tennyson reading Maud

Tennyson Reading Maud.

Figure: Pen and ink. Text in lower right corner: "Maud" 1855. Full-length sketch of Tennyson in profile facing left, seated in an over-stuffed chair and reading from a book held in his right hand. His legs are tightly crossed, and his left hand grasps his right shin.



sculptor Alex. Munro, in 1848. This even bore upon its frame the two verses from Keats beginning:



  • “I met a lady in the wood,
  • Most beautiful, a fairy's child;”


but the composition represents neither wood nor fairy—simply a pair of figures walking arm-in-arm, the man booted and spurred, the lady golden haired, in a bright blue gown and long girdle. It was laconically referred to by Ruskin, who at one time owned and highly valued the drawing, as “the man and his blue wife.” Mr. Fairfax
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Murray has suggested an idea that the composition may have been intended at first to represent Laertes leading away Ophelia, and points out that the figures reappear almost exactly in a water-colour of 1864 entitled The First Madness of Ophelia .
Of portraits, there belong to the year 1855 a pen-and-ink head of Rossetti himself at the age of twenty-seven, sallow-faced and slightly bearded, of which at least one copy exists, perhaps by  

Maids of Elfen-Mere

The Maids of Elfen-Mere.

Figure: Woodcut. text in lower right corner: T Dalziel. Full-length woodcut of four figures. Three young women stand in flowing gowns, facing forward, left, and right, before a youth, who faces backward while seated on the floor, turning his head away from them.



another hand; a water-colour portrait of Browning , done at Paris in October of the year; a lovely little water-colour of Miss Siddal seated upon the ground, in the possession of Mr. Wells; and a sketch, which however deserves notice for its intrinsic interest, of Tennyson reading aloud the proof-sheets of “Maud.” Browning, at whose house the reading took place, on September 27, 1855, retained possession of this sketch, and his son may possibly have it still; but a copy was made at Miss Siddal's request by Rossetti, who gave it away many years later when he was cherishing a real or imaginary grievance against Tennyson, and this is reproduced on page 69 by permission of its present owner, Mr. Cosmo Monkhouse.
In addition to the foregoing there must be chronicled under 1855 the first of the important and beautiful designs for woodcuts, which in the absence of his pictures were almost the only means afforded to the public for many years of judging of Rossetti's work. This is a drawing for a poem in William Allingham's “Day and Night Songs,” called The Maids of Elfen-Mere . Allingham was employed in the Customs in Ireland, and at the period in question, and for some years after, Rossetti and he were very intimate, corresponding
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freely and vivaciously on all topics concerning their circle. Rossetti's letters have fortunately been preserved, and unlike some others which have shared the same publicity are entirely suitable for and worthy of general reading. They have been excellently edited by Dr. Birkbeck Hill, and are a source of information on these years of Rossetti's life from which I have not scrupled occasionally to draw. In them the whole history of this wood-block is circumstantially  

Maids of Elfen-Mere

Drawing for The Maids of Elfen-Mere.

Figure: Pen and ink. Four full length figures. A young man sits on the ground, turned slightly to the left. His hands are clasped around his left knee, and he gazes downward. Behind him, three women in flowing dresses face forward, left, and right.



detailed, so that I need not dwell much upon it here; sufficient to say that Rossetti was violently displeased with the cutting of his design by Dalziel, and after keeping the edition waiting ever so long, wanted to cancel and withdraw the block. Allingham and some others were by no means equally displeased, and eventually on the former's urgent petition it was allowed to go in. To our eyes to-day it appears a sufficiently creditable piece of work, 1 though it is too fine and light in tone to yield a satisfactory reproduction. As a set-off against the coarseness of the block shown here I have placed alongside it a reproduction from one of the original pen-and-ink designs which Rossetti copied on to the wood, and which has kindly been lent to me for the purpose by its present owner, Dr. Robert Spence Watson, of Gateshead. A larger drawing remains in the possession of Mrs. Allingham. An interesting incident in connection with this block is that Rossetti first drew the subject on the wood without reversing it, showing at once his
Transcribed Footnote (page 71):

1 It was his delight at the sight of this woodcut in Allingham's book that started William Morris on designing and engraving blocks himself. Both he and Burne-Jones were emphatic in admiration, the latter writing of it as “the most beautiful drawing for an illustration that I have ever seen.”

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inexperience and the same kind of happy-go-lucky confidence which afterwards led to the deplorable fiasco at the Oxford Union. The drawing as shown here is intended to be reversed.
In 1856 were completed the water-colours of Dante's Dream and Fra Pace ; the former for Miss Heaton, the latter for anyone who would buy it,—Ruskin, who had the first offer, having pronounced it to be “very ingenious and wonderful, but not my sort of drawing.” Mr. William Morris, who, as we shall presently see, acquired several early water-colours by Rossetti, was apparently the first purchaser of Fra Pace , which later on found its way into the great Graham collection, and is now in the possession of Mrs. Jekyll, one of Mr. William Graham's daughters. It represents, as the plate will show, a kneeling monk busy illuminating at a desk. He is copying a dead mouse, and has worked so long and with such preoccupation that the cat has coiled itself up asleep upon his trailing robe. A youthful acolyte is tickling it with a straw in order to beguile the tedium of the long silence. The drawing is somewhat archaic in character and stiff in design—based upon Memling, some have said; but it is eminently characteristic of Rossetti, full of quaint conceits and devices, from the row of little bottles that hold the good man's pigments to the split pomegranate that lies uneaten by his side. From the amount of humour it contains Rossetti must evidently have enjoyed doing it.
The Dante's Dream just mentioned is the first, and in certain points most beautiful, version of the subject which afterwards served for Rossetti's largest picture, the one in the Walker Art Gallery at Liverpool. A third picture, not so large as the latter, but distinguished by a pair of predellas, belongs to Mr. Wiliam Imrie, of the same city. These will be further described in their proper place. Mr. Heaton's little water-colour—really not a very little one in comparison with most of the works of that time—has been described (even by Mr. W. M. Rossetti) as different in composition from the later versions. This, it will be seen by comparing the illustrations, is hardly the case. The water-colour is somewhat squarer in shape, but the composition and pose of the five figures are very much the same as in the large Liverpool picture. Love, arrayed in bright blue, instead of in flame red as the later versions represent him, is leading a very grave and sorrowful Dante up to the bier whereon in a vision he saw his lady lie. Her maidens at head and at foot are lowering or holding up a snowy pall, on which are strewed symbolic sprigs of hawthorn bloom. Poppies of death cover the floor. The
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Fra Pace (The Monk.)

Fra Pace.

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water color. Monogram lower right. Two full-length figures in a rectory. To the left, a monk kneels next to desk, drawing a dead mouse in an illuminated manuscript. Behind him, a small boy plays tries to awaken a cat who has curled up asleep in the folds of the monk's robe.



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Dante's Dream at the Time of                         the Death of Beatrice

Dante's Dream: From the Water-Colour

Figure: Water color. Five full-length figures. In a chamber, a man stands in profile facing to the right, gazing down at a woman who lies on a bier behind him. He is led to the bier by an embodiment of love, who holds his left hand while bending over to kiss the supine woman. An attendant stands at the head and foot of the bier. The dead woman's eyes are closed and her hands are joined as if in prayer.



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Sig. L
scene is an interior, with open vistas to right and left, showing the sunny city of Florence and the winding Arno. Certain features, such as the red birds of love flying in and out at the openings and filling all the house, are absent in this earlier picture, which gains by a depth of feeling peculiarly its own, by entire freedom from affectation in the expression of the faces, and by the simple beauty of the recumbent Beatrice, with her golden hair, done, according to  

Faust: Faust and Margaret in                         Prison

Faust and Margaret.

Figure: Pen and ink. Initialed lower right. Three full-length figures. On the right, Faust stands with his back against a prison cell wall, his arms raised and bent as he clasps Margaret's hands. She faces him, raising her arms to grasp his hands as they gaze into one another's eyes. In the background to the left, a shadowy figure of Mephistopheles descends a stairway into the cell.



Mr. William Rossetti, from the wife of his friend, James Hannay. Rossetti made a charming study for the Beatrice of the later picture from Mrs. Morris, although in the picture itself the effect has been somewhat spoilt by altering the colour of the hair, and by the introduction of ugly mannerisms, which marred a great deal of the painter's latest work.
Of the same date as Dante's Dream is a pen-and-ink design belonging to Mr. Arthur Hughes, which represents Faust and Margaret in the prison. 1 Mephistopheles is coming down the steps, urging the pair to make haste. At the very close of his life Rossetti essayed to paint an important picture, dealing with the incident of the jewel-casket, to be called Gretchen , or Risen at Dawn . Particulars as to this will be found in Chapter IX.
Transcribed Footnote (page 73):

1 On page 24 mention was made of an early drawing of Gretchen and Mephistopheles in the Chapel , belonging to Mr. J. A. R. Munro. This, I find, since the page was printed, now belongs to Dr. H. A. Munro, who has also a second, less finished, drawing of the same subject, but totally different in composition. In this, Faust kneels at a pew close by, looking lovingly at Gretchen, and the upper spandrils of the picture contain large heads of Faust and Mephistopheles. Both will be found reproduced at page 24. [reproduction 1] [reproduction 2] The finished drawing, with the flaming sword pointing to Gretchen, and the words “Dies Irae” round it, was done for the “Cyclographic Society,” and criticisms on it by Millais and Holman Hunt were quoted by Mr. Rossetti in the “Art Journal,” May, 1894.

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In March, 1856, Rossetti secured an important commission— judged by the standard of his current work and prices—to paint a reredos in three compartments for the cathedral of Llandaff, which John P. Seddon was engaged in restoring. The matter had been broached a year earlier, when Madox Brown had felt a momentary annoyance at being passed over himself and asked to recommend Rossetti. This did not deter him from pushing his friend's interests, and through the influence of Mr. Bruce, M.P., afterwards Lord Aberdare, and the Seddons, Rossetti got the commission at his own price, viz., £400 for the triple picture—“a big thing,” as he wrote, “which I shall go into with a howl of delight after all my small work.” The subject he chose for this undertaking was The Seed of David , showing in the centre-piece the infant Christ on his mother's knee being adored by a shepherd and a king, and on either side a single figure of David, first as a shepherd-boy slinging the stone for Goliath, and secondly as a king harping to the glory of God. In this year the Llandaff triptych got no further than a set of water-colour designs, which for a long time have been in the possession of Rossetti's early friend Vernon (now Mr. Justice) Lushington. Even they were probably not all completed until later, as several earlier studies [study 1] [study 2] [study 3] [study 4] [study 5] were made, of which some were sold after Rossetti's death, and are to be found in the possession of Mr. J. W. Thompson, of Walcot, Stalham. Mr. Fairfax Murray also has one or more. The painting was started about 1858, and was evidently much discussed with Ruskin, who wished Rossetti to use for the face of the Virgin the handsome features of Miss Herbert, an actress whose acquaintance he had just then made, and who sat to him more than once. In 1857, however, Rossetti had met Miss Burden, afterwards Mrs. Morris, and it is her face which appears in the picture. The colouring and the work in general is not unlike that of the early Adoration by Burne-Jones , which was painted about the same time, under the strong influence of Rossetti, and which will be remembered at the Winter Exhibition of the New Gallery, 1898-9. In this picture also Mrs. Morris sat for the Virgin, and William Morris and Swinburne are recognizable among the group of worshippers. The triptych was not completely finished until 1864, and after that was considerably retouched in 1869, when Rossetti went down to Llandaff for the purpose.
An interesting family letter, 1 of June, 1864, gives Rossetti's own description of the triptych, and also shows how much novelty of idea
Transcribed Footnote (page 74):

1W. M. Rossetti, “ Letters and Memoir,” vol. ii., p. 174.

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The Seed of David

The Seed of David: Triptych in Llandaff Cathedral

Figure: Oil. Three panels with arched tops. The left panel shows David as a shepherd with a sling-shot and stone, ready to slay Goliath. The center panel depicts the birth of Christ among a group of people dressed in medieval attire. The right panel shows David as a king, playing a harp.



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Note: This page contains one half of the triptych The Seed of David, described on the preceding page.
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and teaching he contrived to throw into such a hackneyed theme as the Adoration: “It is intended,” he says, “to show Christ sprung from high and low in the person of David, who was both Shepherd and King, and worshipped by high and low—a King and a Shepherd —at his nativity. Accordingly in the centre-piece an angel is represented leading the Shepherd and King to worship in the stable at the feet of Christ, who is in his mother's arms. She holds his hand for the Shepherd, and his foot for the King, to kiss—so showing the superiority of poverty over riches in the eyes of Christ. There is an opening all round the stable, through which angels are looking in, whilst other angels are playing on musical instruments in a loft above. . . . The three pictures are in a stone framework in the cathedral, which being white I fear must injure their effect; but before long I shall go down there and give directions for such decoration of the framework as seems best. I have been thinking of some concise mottoes to inscribe round the pictures, so as to suggest their purport, and have hit on the following:

  • (1) Christ sprang from David Shepherd, and even so
  • (2) From David King, being born of high and low.
  • (3) The Shepherd lays his crook, the King his crown
  • (4) Here at Christ's feet, and high and low bow down.”
The year 1856 (or, if we take the date of publication, 1857) deserves commemoration apart from these annals as the year of the famous Moxon “Tennyson”, for which Rossetti designed no fewer than five illustrations. The first mention we have of the matter is in a letter from Rossetti himself to Allingham, dated January 23, 1855, in which he says:

“The other day Moxon called on me, wanting me to do some of the blocks for the new Tennyson. The artists already engaged are Millais, Hunt, Landseer, Stanfield, Maclise, Creswick, Mulready, and Horsley. The right names would have been Millais, Hunt, Madox Brown, Hughes, a certain lady, and myself. NO OTHERS. . . . Each artist, it seems, is to do about half-a-dozen; but I hardly expect to manage so many, as I find the work of drawing on wood particularly trying to the eyes. I have not begun even designing for them yet, but fancy I shall try the‘Vision of Sin’, and‘Palace of Art’, etc.—those where one can allegorize on one's own hook, without killing for oneself and everyone a distinct idea of the poet's.”

Rossetti's interpretation of the last sentence may be sought for in the wonderful illustration to the “Palace of Art” , on which he has lavished all the wealth of his rich mediæval fancy and feeling for beauty, without trespassing to any apparent extent upon either the central idea of the poem or any one of its details. Tennyson, who hated pictures, and took the most attenuated interest in this edition of his poems, is said to have been a good deal puzzled by the illus-
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St. Cecilia

The Palace of Art.

Figure: Woodcut. Monogram, lower right corner. A woman kneeling to the left plays a small organ as an angel embraces her from behind and kisses her forehead. A guard eating an apple stands in the lower left corner, his back to the couple.



 

King Arthur and the Weeping                         Queens

The Palace of Art.

Figure: Woodcut. Monogram, lower left corner. A supine Arthur is cradled on the laps of ten young, weeping queens.



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The Lady of Shalott

The Lady of Shalott.

Figure: Woodcut. Lancelot facing left while standing on a barge, leans over to gaze upon the supine Lady of Shalott.



 

Mariana in the South

Mariana in the South

Figure: Woodcut. Monogram, lower left. Mariana kneels to the left, kissing the feet of a crucifix on the wall. Behind her, a free-standing mirror reflects the scene.



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tration in question, which is intended to represent the verse describing how



  • “in a clear-wall'd city on the sea
  • Near gilded organ-pipes, her hair
  • Wound with white roses, slept St. Cecily;
  • An angel looked at her.”


As I have already mentioned in Chapter IV., there is reason to believe that Rossetti availed himself of a design by Miss Siddal for the centre figure of St. Cecily .
A second illustration for the same poem, showing how “mythic  

Sir Galahad at the Ruined                             Chapel

SIR GALAHAD.

Figure: Woodcut. Sir Galahad, kneeling at the top of a flight of steps before the altar of a deserted chapel in a wood at night, is in the act of making the sign of the cross on his face with the holy water in a vessel suspended on a beam. The chapel is brilliantly lit within so that the faces of the girls standing below, praying and tolling the golden bell hanging at the entrance, are illuminated by the reflection of light from the altar.Surtees, p. 70



Uther's deeply-wounded son” was tended in the Vale of Avalon by weeping queens, Tennyson liked best of any in the book, and indeed it can hardly be surpassed for beauty. The remaining three designs— intended to illustrate “The Lady of Shalott”, “Sir Galahad” at the secret shrine, and “Mariana in the South”, have each a separate and never-fading charm, without entirely rivalling the exquisite workmanship and elaborate finish of the two just mentioned. Messrs. Macmillan, who afterwards acquired the rights of the Moxon “Tennyson,” have with great generosity placed the original five wood-blocks [woodblock 1] [woodblock 2] [woodblock 3] [woodblock 4] [woodblock 5] at my disposal, and I can only regret that the electrotypes made from them do not do better justice to Rossetti's work and to Dalziel's really fine cutting. Not that Rossetti himself was
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Sir Galahad at the Ruined                         Chapel

SIR GALAHAD AT THE SHRINE

Figure: Water color. Sir Galahad, kneeling at the top of a flight of steps before the altar of a deserted chapel in a wood at night, is in the act of making the sign of the cross on his face with the holy water in a vessel suspended on a beam. The chapel is brilliantly lit within so that the faces of the girls standing below, praying and tolling the golden bell hanging at the entrance, are illuminated by the reflection of light from the altar.Surtees, p. 70



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The Blue Closet

The Blue Closet

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water color. Monogram and date lower right: "1857." Two Queens playing upon the keys of a clavicord within a chamber, the walls and floor of which are tiled in brilliant blue, from which the drawing takes its name. A red lily rises from a patch of earth in the centre foreground. Surtees, p. 50



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entirely satisfied with the results. As in the case of the Allingham block, he found himself at variance with the engravers more than once, especially Dalziel, preferring the simpler and broader work of Linton ( Sir Galahad and Mariana ). In one of those little humorous flashes that generally mean either much more or much less than they seem to, he wrote to Bell Scott:

“I have designed five blocks for Tennyson, some of which are still cutting and maiming. It is a thankless task. After a fortnight's work my block goes to the engraver, like Agag delicately, and is hewn to pieces before the Lord Harry.

“ADDRESS TO THE DALZIEL BROTHERS.

  • “O woodman, spare that block,
  • O gash not anyhow!
  • It took ten days by clock,
  • I'd fain protect it now.
  • Chorus—Wild laughter from Dalziel's workshop.”
For these Tennyson designs, according to Mr. W. M. Rossetti, his brother got £15 each. 1Separate pen-and-ink drawings [drawing 1] [drawing 2] [drawing 3] [drawing 4] exist for most, if not for all of them, 2 and water-colours were afterwards painted from three: St. Cecily (1857), described by a well-known writer as glowing “with such a glow of gold and amethyst as sometimes burns upon the sunset Atlantic”; Sir Galahad in the Chapel (1859), formerly in Mr. James Leathart's collection, and now in the Corporation Gallery at Birmingham; Mariana (1862)—not to be confused with an oil Mariana of later date, named direct from the lady in “Measure for Measure.” The water-colour belongs to Mr. George Rae, and is also known by the title Heart of the Night .
About 1857 was designed a drawing in crayons of St. Luke the Painter , for which the artist composed the fine sonnet beginning:



  • “Give honour unto Luke Evangelist;
  • For he it was (the aged legends say)
  • Who first taught Art to fold her hands and pray.”


This sonnet was afterwards included in the “House of Life” series, under “Old and New Art”, as No. LXXIV. It is an interesting enunciation of “Pre-Raphaelite” principles.
Since abandoning his picture of Hist, said Kate the Queen , in 1853, Rossetti had up to this date produced no further work in oil, a rather remarkable fact considering that both his earlier works were in the more important medium. He had started upon Found , it is true; but the amount of work done upon the actual canvas was inconsiderable. Ruskin had once or twice half advised him to take up
Transcribed Footnote (page 79):

1 In the “ Memoir ” the price is given as £30.

Transcribed Footnote (page 79):

2 Mr. C. F. Murray owns three out of the five, the missing ones being Sir Galahad and The Lady of Shalott .

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oil, on account of its superior market value as compared with water-colour. “Very foolish it is, but so it is,” as he wrote; and by way of backing his recommendation he commissioned, somewhere about 1855. a St. Catharine picture for himself. This was finished in 1857, but an alteration to the figure at the last moment so displeased the purchaser that he begged Rossetti either to sell it to someone else or to alter it back again. The picture represents a mediæval artist painting from a lady a full-length picture of St. Catharine, with her wheel and other accessories. It is described as being especially rich in colour, and belonged some years ago to Mr. J. G. Kershaw, by whom it was exhibited at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1883.
In point of number and interest the productions of 1857 are remarkable. It was the year of the Oxford frescoes, for one thing, though these dragged on till 1859; and it was the year of a charming little series of water-colours, which were acquired one after the other by Rossetti's newly-made acquaintance, William Morris, who, some time later, being in want of capital for his own business, sold them in a batch to their present possessor, Mr. Rae. These comprise—to leave the frescoes until later:
(1) The Damsel of the Sanc Grael , robed in green, holding a long-stemmed cup in her hand, and with the holy dove above her bearing a censer in its beak. Many years later, in 1874, Rossetti painted an oil version of the same subject for Mr. Rae, in which he modernized, and many will think spoilt, the archaic simplicity of the design. As both versions are reproduced in this book, readers will be able to form their own opinions on the point, though they will miss in the one case the primitive charm of the fresh green colour, and in the other the sumptuous and heavy richness of the painting.
(2) The Death of Breuse sans Pitié , one of the crudest and least successful of all Rossetti's water-colours. The terribly realistic encounter of two knights struggling in the foreground, and the grimness of the scene behind, where a dead man is hanging contorted on a tree while a lady waits beside him with a halter round her neck, has a repulsive and unpleasant effect. The composition, moreover, is grotesque and strained, and the painting (although Rossetti worked on it later) unsatisfactory.
(3) The Chapel before the Lists , a scene suggested by Malory. In a lighted chapel a lady is helping to arm a kneeling knight in red, her long white head-dress, as she stoops to kiss him, falling like a mantle down her blue dress. She is holding his long two-handed sword. Upon the pointed shield of the knight is a figure of a maiden
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The Tune of Seven Towers

The Tune of Seven Towers

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water color. A woman seated in an oak chair towering above her into a belfry plays upon a musical instrument which is fitted to the chair and lies across her knees. A bell rope hangs down from above; a staff, with banner suspended, cuts diagonally across the picture.Surtees, p. 51



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The Damsel of the Sanct                         Grael

THE DAMSEL OF THE SANC GRAEL

Figure: Water color. Inscribed upper left and right: "Sanct Grael." She stands whole-length to front with hair outspread, holding in her left hand a long-stemmed cup and a basket of bread covered with a little white napkin; her right hand is raised in blessing. The Holy Dove bearing a censer in its beak has come to rest above her head. Surtees, p. 51



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Sig. M
in distress (Andromeda, or the Princess in the dragon story). Beyond the chapel is a tented field, and knights going forth to joust. This little drawing was considerably touched up in 1864, and bears the double date in one corner.
(4) The Tune of Seven Towers , a quaint little scene, very characteristic of Rossetti's fertility and originality of invention. A lady in red with mediæval head-dress is sitting in a high oaken chair, which above towers up into a sort of belfry, and is playing upon a musical instrument which also forms part of the chair. A man in green doublet, with long boots, sits sideways on a stool close by watching her, and a second lady stands mournfully behind. In an alcove at the back a maid is seen reaching through a little window to place an orange branch upon a bed. A banner hangs down at the right from a pole which cuts the picture diagonally in half, and which ends in a socket beside the oaken chair.
(5) The Blue Closet , the gem of the collection for beauty of colour, represents two queens, the one on the left in red with green sleeves, and the one on the right in crimson and grey, playing upon opposite sides of a carved and inlaid dulcimer or clavichord. Two other ladies stand behind them singing. Above their heads the wall is tiled with blue, and so likewise is the floor, suggesting the title of the picture. Strong blue touches upon an escutcheon at the back carry the thought still further.
William Morris, with whom the last two pictures were especial favourites, used their romantic and sweet-sounding titles as themes to base two poems on; and this has led to a confused idea that the pictures illustrate the poems. In reality they have nothing in common but their names, and for these the painter, not the poet, was responsible. In Mr. Rae's catalogue the poems are quoted.
A sixth subject acquired in the same manner as the others, and at the same time, by Mr. Rae, was the early water-colour triptych of Paolo and Francesca , which used to belong to Mr. Ruskin and has already been mentioned ( see page 66).
The Wedding of St. George , also in Mr. Rae's collection, belongs to this year, but was not acquired from Mr. Morris. The old story of St. George and the Dragon had a powerful influence upon the romantic school to which Rossetti belonged. Burne-Jones's variations upon it are well known, and Rossetti also, besides treating it as a whole in a series of designs for stained glass windows, painted St. George more than once at typical stages of the adventure. In this earliest version he is resting from his feat, clad in armour, with a gorgeous
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surcoat, whilst the princess, now wholly his, kneels and leans her head upon his breast, cutting off a large dark lock of hair which she has bound upon the crest of his helmet. The dragon's head, a monstrous object, stands grotesquely in one corner in a box with ropes attached for drawing it along. In the background is a hedge of flowers and attendant angels playing on bells. “One of the grandest things, like a golden dim dream,” wrote James Smetham the Methodist painter, in a letter quoted by Mr. W. M. Rossetti. “Love ‘credulous all gold,’ gold armour, a sense of secret enclosure  

The Gate of Memory

THE GATE OF MEMORY.

Figure: Water color. Monogram lower right corner. On the right a prostitute stands at dusk under an archway, watching a group of dancing children and recognizes herself as once she was in the figure of a seated, flower-crowned child. An over-hanging lamp casts a dull yellow light upon the children and illumines for a moment a large rat as it scuttles out of sight. Fine houses with lighted windows supply the background.Surtees, p. 56



in ‘palace-chambers far apart’—quaint chambers in quaint palaces, where angels creep in thro' sliding panel doors, and stand behind rows of flowers, drumming on golden bells, with wings crimson and green.”
Other water-colours of 1857 are The Gate of Memory , which used to belong to the Rev. Moncure Conway, representing a woman standing under an arch and watching some children at play—a theme based upon W. B. Scott's “Mary Anne;” The Garden Bower , a drawing of a girl drinking out of a long glass, bought by Mr. Plint, and subsequently acquired by Mr. Leathart; and A Christmas Carol , one of those scenes of chamber music that Rossetti was so fond of depicting in his early days. This beautiful little water-colour (also formerly in Mr. Leathart's collection, and now owned by Mr. Fairfax Murray), has no affinity with the later oil painting of the same name belonging to Mr. Rae, which represents a girl robed in some Eastern stuff with her head thrown back, singing to a lute “a song of Christ's birth with the tune of Bululalow”—as the old Winchester mystery phrases it. The water-colour, it will be seen from the plate, represents a lady singing and playing upon a sort of clavichord, whilst two maidens comb out her beautiful long hair. I have seen it suggested that
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The Wedding of St. George and                         the Princess Sabra

The Wedding of St. George

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water color. Monogram and date, lower right corner: "1857." In a confined space crammed with accessories, St. George is kissing the Princess; enveloped in his arms she is in the act of cutting off a lock of her hair.Surtees, p. 55



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the subject was taken from Swinburne's poem of the “Christmas Carol”, which begins:



  • “Three damsels in the queen's chamber;
  • The queen's mouth was most fair;
  • She spake a word of God's mother
  • As the combs went in her hair.”


A reference to “Poems and Ballads” would have shown that this is not the case, but that, as with the Blue Closet , the Tune of Seven Towers ,  

The Bower Garden

THE GARDEN BOWER.

Figure: Water color. Monogram, date lower left corner: "1859." Two women in a garden face each other. The one on the right is drinking from a long glass offered to her by a serving-woman in a blue smock (Fanny Cornforth). Espalier trees against a red-brick wall provide the background. Surtees, p. 68



and Arthur's Tomb , the poem took its inspiration and title from Rossetti's picture. The Christmas Carol was exhibited at the Liverpool Academy, together with the water-colour, Dante's Dream , in 1858. It was done at the close of the year, and is appropriately dated “Xmas 1857-8.”
We now come to the story of the Oxford “Frescoes,” as they are called—although not really fresco at all, but tempera—to which a short introduction is necessary. A much fuller account of the whole proceeding than I can give here will be found in Mr. Mackail's “Life of William Morris,” volume i. The artistic and romantic impulses stirring in England at the midpoint of the century had, as we have seen, produced one notable movement in the shape of the “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.” Five or six years later they gave birth to another, not less important either in regard to its results or to the quality of men engaged in it; and very shortly afterwards a fusion of the two took place. The second of these “Brotherhoods” —the word was actually adopted for a time—had its origin at Exeter College, Oxford, in the personalities of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, and resolved itself at first, like its forerunner, into a “crusade and holy warfare against the age,” with a much wider scope
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of conflict and with an added religious tinge which was hardly visible, though doubtless present, in the other. The parallelism of effort and ideal which appears in these two independent movements—for the “P.R.B.” was not among the primary influences at Oxford— might strike one at first as a coincidence, were it not merely a fresh instance of a broad and general fact that new ideas ripen like corn of which the sowers are many and the harvest universal. The Oxford group, like the “P.R.B.,” published a magazine to illustrate, not to preach, their principles, and had as a tangible link with Rossetti the same warm appreciation of the beauties of the Arthurian legend. Mr. Mackail says it was at a bookshop in Birmingham that Burne-Jones first discovered (about 1855) a copy of Southey's “Malory,” which he used to read in snatches. Morris, on hearing of this, bought the book, which “at once became for both one of their most precious treasures; so precious that even among their intimates there was some shyness over it, till a year later they heard Rossetti speak of it and the Bible as the two greatest books in the world, and their tongues were unloosed by the sanction of his authority.”
In the Christmas vacation of 1855 Burne-Jones came up to London, and after attending a meeting of the Working Men's College in order to see Rossetti, whom he and Morris had already begun to worship, he was introduced to him at Vernon Lushington's rooms in Doctors' Commons. The next day he visited Rossetti in his studio at Blackfriars, and saw him working on Fra Pace . Thus was laid the foundation of an alliance that even more potently than the “P.R.B.” has changed the face of art in England—an alliance which consolidated the principal factors that were working in the field of reform, and resulted in the formation of a group which for combined poetic, literary, and artistic power is unapproached in the history of the nation. Incidentally, it was this visit that determined Burne-Jones—hankering after art but predestined for the Church—to become a painter; and no one can fail to be struck with the evidence of Rossetti's influence upon his early work.
To the “ Oxford and Cambridge Magazine,” William Morris's organ, which ran for the twelve months of 1856, Rossetti contributed “The Burden of Nineveh”, “The Blessed Damozel”, (a little altered from the Germ version), and “The Staff and Scrip”. Ruskin wrote to him wild with curiosity to find out who was the author of the first-named poem, and it is interesting to know from his hesitation in replying that Rossetti up to that time had been shy of discussing or mentioning his poetry to Ruskin.
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A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water color on panel. Monogram and date upper left: "Xmas 1857-8." A young woman in red, with the face of Elizabeth Siddal, having her hair combed out by two attendants, is seated in the centre facing to front, playing a clavichord decorated on two panels with scenes of the Annunciation and Nativity, and hung with sprigs of green foliage; holly trees in red barrels stand to left and rigth against a wall of bright blue tiles; a black and gold tapestry hangs behind the central figure and falls to form a carpet beneath her feet. Surtees, p. 55



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By the end of 1856 Burne-Jones and Morris had left Oxford and were settled in London, occupying the rooms at 17, Red Lion Square, which had formerly served as a studio for Rossetti and Deverell. Both were deeply under the spell of Rossetti's influence. “Morris,” says Mr. Mackail, “became not only a pupil, but a servant.” Once, when Burne-Jones complained that the designs he made in Rossetti's manner seemed better than his own, Morris answered with some vehemence, “I have got beyond that; I want to imitate Gabriel as much as I can.” For this  

`Red Lion Mary'. (Mrs. Mary                         Nicholson.)

RED LION MARY.

Figure: Pencil. Head and shoulders of the maid at 17 Red Lion Square, during the occupancy of Morris and Burne-Jones. Head nearly in profile to right against a shaded background. Surtees, p. 182



reason he had turned painter too, Rossetti being somewhat dogmatic as to the limit of possible vocations; and inasmuch as the latter's theory then was that men who had brains should paint, and men who had money should buy pictures, Morris, being possessed of both money and brains, was compelled to fulfil the double function. To Rossetti's credit, be it said, he was just as keen to get his friends' pictures bought as his own.
The ménage at Red Lion Square lasted till 1859, and was a sort of rallying point for all members of the circle. “From the incidents that occurred or were invented there,” says Mr. Mackail, “a sort of Book of the Hundred Merry Tales gradually was formed, of which Morris was the central figure. A great many of these stories are connected with the maid of the house, who became famous under the name of Red Lion Mary. She was very plain, but a person of great character and unfailing good-humour, with some literary taste and a considerable knowledge of poetry. She cooked and mended for the new lodgers, read their books and letters, was anxious to be allowed to act as a model, and neglected all her other duties to stand behind them and watch them painting.” 1
Transcribed Footnote (page 85):

1 The following story, stripped of some absurd and unlikely details about rolling

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The rooms were “the quaintest in all London,” as Burne-Jones wrote, “hung with brasses of old knights and drawings of Albert Dürer;” and in order to furnish them comformably recourse had to be had to invention. A local joiner was engaged to manufacture furniture from Morris's own designs: “intensely mediæval” was Rossetti's description of it to a friend, “tables and chairs like incubi and succubi.” Next came the idea of painting pictures on walls, cupboards, and doors, about the time that Morris was planning to build himself at Upton, in the neighbourhood of Bexley Heath, a “palace of art” the like of which should never have been seen. In the  

Dantis Amor

DANTIS AMOR.

Figure: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed around the sun, upper left: "QUI EST PER OMNIA SAECULA BENEDICTUS." Inscribed around the moon, lower right: "QUELLA BEATA BEATRICE CHE MIRA CONTINUAMENTE NELLA FACCIA DI COLUI." Inscribed along the diagonal dividing line: L'AMOR CHE MUOVE IL SOLE E L'ALTRE STELLE." Love, dressed as a pilgrim, stands full-face holding a sun-dial dated 1290. In the upper left corner the sun (head of Christ); lower right corner a crescent moon (head of Beatrice). The background is divided diagonally between the sun's rays and the stars. Surtees, p. 74



general enthusiasm Rossetti set to and designed a pair of panels for a cabinet—the subject of his early pen-and-ink drawing, The Salutation of Beatrice , representing in two compartments Dante meeting Beatrice in Florence, and again in Paradise, with (to go between them) a quaint figure of Love revelling in a medley of horologies and symbols, poised between the sun (a head of Christ) above, and the moon (a head of Beatrice) below, and lavishly intertwined with inscriptions in Italian and Latin. This is known as Dantis Amor .
At the risk of repetition, I may mention once more a side of the movement which is apt to be overshadowed by its momentous and far-reaching results; I mean the intense lightheartedness and sense
Transcribed Footnote (page 86):

[ 1] eyes and feigning madness, is told of Red Lion Mary, as a sample of her imperturbable good-nature. Rossetti one day, on her entering the room, strode up to her, and in deep resonant tones, with fearful meaning in his voice, declaimed the lines:

  • “Shall the hide of a fierce lion
  • Be stretched on a couch of wood,
  • For a daughter's foot to lie on,
  • Stained with a father's blood?”
Whereupon the girl, quite unawed by the horrible proposition, replied with baffling complacency, “It shall if you like, sir!”

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The Salutation of Beatrice.                         (Salutatio Beatricis.)

THE SALUTATION OF BEATRICE: PANELS. RIGHT COMPARTMENT: MEETING IN FLORENCE LEFT COMPARTMENT: MEETING IN PARADISE

Figure: Oil on two panels, reproduced in Marillier as top and bottom, rather than as left and right. Left (upper) panel: inscribed above Beatrice's head: "Domicella Beatrix de Portinaris." Inscribed above Dante's head: "Dantes de Alghieris." Right (lower) panel: inscribed on scroll in both upper corners: "Hortus Eden." Inscribed behind Dante's head: "Poeta Dantes de Alghieris de Florentia," behind Beatrice's head: "Beata Beatrix." In the left (upper) panel, Beatrice, facing left descends a flight of stairs, holding a fan in her right hand. She is attended by two women at left. Dante, ascending the stairs, turns profile facing left to look at her. He holds the railing in his left hand and a book in his right. A town can be seen upper background. In the right (lower) panel, Dante and Beatrice, both garlanded with leaves, stand facing each other in a flower garden. Two women at right playing stringed instruments look on.



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of fun which prevailed amongst this band of artistic pioneers. There was nothing about them of the mawkish affectation which discredited the æsthetes who came after them. When Burne-Jones was down at Upton, helping to decorate the Red House in 1860, Rossetti wrote to a mutual friend: “I wish you were in town, to see you sometimes, for I literally see no one now except Madox Brown pretty often, and even he is gone to join Morris, who is out of reach at Upton, and with them is married Jones painting the inner walls of the house that Top built (Morris was always called ‘Topsy’ by his friends). But as for the neighbours, when they see men pourtrayed by Jones upon the walls, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed (by him!) in Extract Vermilion, exceeding all probability in dyed attire upon their heads, after the manner of no Babylonians of any Chaldea, the land of anyone's nativity—as soon as they see him with their eyes, shall they not account him doting and send messengers into Colney Hatch?”
The Red House, on which so much love and labour had been spent, was abandoned in 1865, owing to the exigencies of Morris's rapidly growing business, and at the break-up the Dante and Beatrice panels were removed from their cabinet and sold. They came into the possession of Sir Frederick Burton, the late Director of the National Gallery, from whom they were afterwards acquired by Mr. Leathart. At the sale of the latter's pictures in 1896 they were bought by Mr. F. J. Tennant, of North Berwick, in whose possession they doubtless remain. One is dated, “June 15-25, 1859,” and the other has the year merely.
The other versions extant of the Dante and Beatrice subject, besides the early pen-and-ink composition belonging to Mr. Rae, ( see page 24 ), which is interesting for comparison because Rossetti afterwards reversed the grouping of both the pictures, consist of a water-colour of the left compartment, inscribed Guardami ben; ben son, ben son Beatrice, painted for Mr. Boyce in 1852, and given by him to Mr. Philip Webb, and a replica of the same done for Mr. Graham in 1864, and sold some years since at Agnew's under the title of Beatrice in Paradise ; there was also a water-colour of the entire picture done for Lady Ashburton in 1864, and still in her family. The latter is referred to in some letter as a “double Dante,” by which title Mr. W. M. Rossetti has catalogued it among his brother's works. Mr. Rossetti has moreover included in his list, as done for Mr. Rae in 1863, another water-colour copy, of which there is no record. The descriptions given by different authorities of these versions are so
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confusing that no little trouble is required to reconcile and put them straight. Nowhere, for instance, can a hint be found that the diptych owned by Mr. Leathart was composed of the panels painted for William Morris and sold at the break-up of the Red House; the natural presumption for anyone unacquainted with the history being that the two were separate versions. Mr. F. G. Stephens, in fact, actually states as much in his “ Portfolio” monograph on Rossetti.  

The Salutation of Beatrice.                         (Salutatio Beatricis.)

STUDY FOR THE SALUTATION OF BEATRICE. RIGHT PANEL.

Figure: Pencil, pen, and Indian ink. Study of Dante for the left panel; back turned mounting steps, head in profile to left, his gaze directed at Beatrice who stands whole-length, lightly sketched. In the foreground a woman with the face of Red Lion Mary moves to the left.Surtees, p. 72



The story of the Dantis Amor design is also rather complicated, and even the latest and best-informed writer on the subject, Mr. Mackail, does not appear to be entirely right about it. It was painted at the same time as the other panels, and was itself a centre panel. Afterwards, when the side ones were removed and framed together, this centre-piece remained over. Rossetti for a long time kept it in his studio, meaning to do something to it; then it was
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bought by Mr. Gambart, the picture-dealer, as it stood. Another, much simpler design, of the figure of Love in a narrow pointed oval, was made by Rossetti and painted in the centre of the framed panels—probably for Mr. Leathart. Mr. Murray, who is my informant on some of these points, has the pen-and-ink designs for both versions.
Besides the Dante and Beatrice panels, Rossetti painted on the backs of two armchairs, either at Red Lion Square or at the Red House, subjects from Morris's own poems, one representing Gwendolen in the Witch-tower , with the Prince below kissing her long golden hair, and another The Arming of a Knight , from the Christmas Mystery of “Sir Galahad”. These chairs are now in the possession of a member of the Morris family, and, so far as I know, they have never been mentioned in a list of Rossetti's works before. They and the Dante panels are particularly interesting as being painted by Rossetti's own hand, which was not the case with the designs executed a year or two later (1861 and 1862) for the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., of which he was one of the original co-partners.
During the long vacation of 1857 Rossetti went up to Oxford with Morris on a visit to the architect, Benjamin Woodward, who was at work upon the new Museum buildings and was also constructing a debating hall for the Union Society. There had been a battle royal between the old semi-classical style of architecture and the new Gothic, represented by Woodward, over the plans for the Museum, and a feeling of glorification and enthusiasm was in the air. Rossetti caught it, and seeing an opportunity for mural decoration of a kind never previously attempted in England in the new hall of the Union, he became fired with an idea for carrying it out. In his ready mind the scheme probably shaped itself at once exactly in the form which it afterwards took. The hall, which is no longer used for debates, but has become a reading-room, was a long building, with an apse at each end, and a gallery half way up running all the way round. In this gallery were bookcases, and above the cases were ten semicircular bays, each pierced with a pair of circular six-foil windows. These bays, it was suggested, should be painted with scenes from the Arthurian legend, and the roof, as part of the general scheme, was to be decorated in a harmonious manner. A building committee was in charge of the operations, and without any clear idea of its responsibilities or restrictions it fell in with Rossetti's proposal that he and a select band of artists should execute the work gratuitously, but that the Union should defray their expenses at Oxford and
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should provide all necessary materials. The time estimated for completing the work was six weeks. Seven artists, including Rossetti, Burne-Jones, and Morris, were enlisted without much trouble, the remaining four being Arthur Hughes, Spencer Stanhope, Val Prinsep, and J. Hungerford Pollen, who had already won much credit from his painting of the roof in Merton College Chapel. Madox Brown and W. B. Scott declined to co-operate, but Munro, the sculptor, was given a share, and carried out some carvings in the porch, one of which was from a design by Rossetti of Arthur sitting with his knights at the round table. For the rest, Rossetti took as subjects for two bays Launcelot asleep before the Chapel of the Sanc Grael and Sir Galahad, Sir Bors and Sir Percival receiving the Sanc Grael ; Morris chose Sir Palomides' Jealousy of Tristram and Yseult ; Burne-Jones Nimuë bringing Sir Peleus to Ettarde ; Prinsep Merlin lured into the pit by the Lady of the Lake ; Stanhope Sir Gawain meeting three Ladies at a Fountain ; Pollen King Arthur receiving the sword Excalibur ; and Hughes King Arthur conveyed by weeping queens to Avalon . This left two bays still undisposed of, which Rossetti thought might be done by anyone who finished before the others; but in a short time it was found that the work in hand was considerably more than had been anticipated. By July, 1858, it was still in progress, judging from the following letter which Rossetti wrote to his friend Professor Norton in America:

“ My own subject (for each of us has as yet done only one) is Sir Launcelot prevented by his sin from entering the Chapel of the San Grail. He has fallen asleep before the shrine full of angels, and between him and it rises in his dream the image of Queen Guenevere, the cause of all. She stands gazing at him with her arms extended in the branches of an apple-tree. As a companion to this I shall paint a design which I have made for the purpose of the attainment of the San Grail by Launcelot's son Galahad, together with Bors and Percival. . . . Several spaces still remain to be filled, and will be so gradually as time allows. Something more, if not all, will be done this long vacation. . . . There is no work like it for delightfulness in the doing, and none I believe in which one might hope to delight others more according to his powers.”

Confirmatory evidence of the beauty of the designs at the time when they were first executed is to be found in a notice by Mr. Coventry Patmore, dated December 26, 1857, which speaks of the colour as “sweet, bright, and pure as a cloud in the sunrise,” and “so brilliant as to make the walls look like the margin of an illuminated manuscript.”
Unfortunately the delight was not to be of long duration. Almost before the pictures were finished they had begun to decay, the effect of tempera laid direct upon a new brick wall, with no pre-
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Sir Launcelot's Vision of                         the Sanc Grael

DESIGN FOR OXFORD UNION: LAUNCELOT AT THE SHRINE OF THE SANC GRAEL. (FROM A COPY BY H. TREFFRY DUNN)

Figure: Oil painting on a mirror. Copy by H. Treffry Dunn, DGR's assistant. Inscribed around the angel's halo at left: "ANCILLA SANC GRAEL." Guenevere stands center, arms outstretched, in front of a tree. Launcelot sleeps lower right, his hands on his sword, which rests between his legs. A haloed angel holds the grael at upper left, and four white-robed girls in candles stand lower left.



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paration but a layer of whitewash, being quite inadequate to resist the English climate. Rossetti's design, though the finest of all, was never completed, being interrupted by an illness which seized Miss Siddal; in fact, at the time the above sanguine letter was written, the whole work had practically come to a standstill, and was never resumed. In 1859 some arrangement was entered into by the Union with a Mr. Riviere to fill the three blank compartments; and after that the ill-fated undertaking, on which so much enthusiasm, so much pains, and so much skill had been spent, gradually faded away and  

Sir Galahad, Sir Bors, and Sir                         Percival Receiving the   Sanc Grael (The Attainment of the Sanc Grael.)

DESIGN FOR UNION: SIR GALAHAD RECEIVING THE SANC GRAEL.

Figure: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed above the figures: "Dom Galahad," "Dom Percival," "Dom Bors," "Soror D Percival." The incident is that of the attainment of the Holy Grail by Sir Galahad who reverently recieves it, while leading forward Sir Percival, whose sister lies dead on the ground beside him.Surtees, p. 53 A row of angels stands in the background.



resolved itself into what it is to-day, a dingy blur of colours in which may be distinguished the occasional vague form of an armoured limb or a patch of flowery background. The roof alone, which was redecorated in 1875, remains a success, and a tribute to the genius of William Morris, whose design for it—almost his first work of the kind—was done in a single day and carried out with customary energy and vehemence.
In 1869 the matter of the Frescoes came up for discussion by a new generation at Oxford, and some overtures were made to Rossetti and William Morris on the subject. The fiasco had not come about without unpleasantness, both on account of the expenses incurred
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by the artists and the unsatisfactoriness of the result; but Rossetti, at the invitation of Mr. J. R. Thursfield, who was chairman of a committee appointed to inquire into the matter, did at this later date send down his assistant, Mr. Treffry Dunn, to see whether anything could be arranged. Mr. Dunn made a sketch of the Launcelot design in water-colours, which I would gladly have reproduced here if I had succeeded in tracing it. Unfortunately no other  

Sir Launcelot's Vision of the                         Sanc Grael

SKETCH FOR GRAIL MAIDEN.

Figure: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed on halo: "ANCILLA SANC GRAEL." An angel kneels, holding bread and a chalice.



complete picture of the composition exists, though Mr. Murray owns a few rough drawings, one (done from Burne-Jones) of Launcelot asleep , with the image of Guenevere just sketched in; one for the floating Grail maiden, reproduced here; and one or two slightly more finished sketches for the Guenevere. [sketch 1] [sketch 2] The reproduction given here is from an oil painting on a mirror belonging to Mr. T. Watts-Dunton. It is by Dunn, and so may be taken as fairly accurate. Of the Sir Galahad, Sir Bors, and Sir Percival design a pen-and-ink sketch is preserved at the British Museum, which serves to show the form. 1 Rossetti painted a most briliant little water-colour of it—all red and gold—in 1864, for the late Miss Heaton, of Leeds. A third design, which was intended for one of the vacant bays, was Launcelot escaping from Guenevere's Chamber . The drawing of this was bought by Mr. Plint in 1859, and later was in the possession of Rossetti's solicitor, Mr. Anderson Rose. It now belongs to Mr. Fairfax Murray, to whom I am indebted for permission to reproduce it.
Rossetti's connection with Oxford, and its intercalation in his work, does not end with the Union paintings. It was destined to
Transcribed Footnote (page 92):

1 Col. Gillum has another rough sketch, bought at Rossetti's sale in 1883.

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Mrs. William Morris

STUDY FOR QUEEN GUENEVERE

Figure: Pen and ink. Monogram and date upper right corner: "Oxford 1858." Jane Morris, seated, Seated, over half-length, turned to the right, her left shoulder raised, her hands placed in her lap; only the head inclined slightly forward, is finished. Surtees, p. 174



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furnish him with a far more lasting influence—a face that to the end of his life haunted his pictures with an austere and solemn beauty, dominating and transforming all other kinds, so as even to give rise to the suggestion—a shallow and ignorant one, it is true—that he painted but one type of face. It was at the theatre, one night in the summer of 1857, that Rossetti and Burne-Jones found themselves sitting near two youthful Misses Burden, daughters of an Oxford resident, the elder of whom, by her striking, almost exotic features  

Sir Launcelot's Vision of the                         Sanc Grael

STUDY FOR GUENEVERE.

Figure: Pen and ink, with traces of water color. Study for Guenevere standing whole-length, arms outstretched along the fork of an apple-tree, holding an apple in her left hand; the upper part of her body inclined backwards to left, the head turned three-quarters to right, eyes looking down.Surtees, p. 52



and southern wealth of dark wavy hair, appealed so forcibly to Rossetti's painter eye that he obtained an introduction in order to ask for sittings. A pen-and-ink head called Queen Guenevere , now in the National Gallery at Dublin, and evidently intended to replace the earlier studies done for Launcelot at the Shrine , was one of the first fruits of this acquaintance, which, for the rest, does not seem to have become really prolific of results until several years later, when Rossetti's wife was dead. In the meantime William Morris, whose admiration went even further, had married Miss Burden, and the casual relationship of painter and sitter which existed between
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her and Rossetti deepened into a friendship, in which Miss Siddal participated, both up to and after her marriage. Another friend made during this period was the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, just then approaching his fiery and splendid zenith. Swinburne was  

Sir Launcelot in the Queen's                         Chamber

DESIGN FOR UNION: LAUNCELOT ESCAPING FROM GUENEVERE'S CHAMBER.

Figure: Pen and ink. Monogram and date lower right: "Oxford 1857." At left, Launcelot stands, holding a sword. looking out a window at the attacking knights. At center Guenevere stands facing right, her hands clasped to her throat. Three distressed ladies-in-waiting sit at right. A bush grows beside Launcelot.



known to the Morris set, one of whom brought him down to the Union, where he first met Rossetti. Thus was another pillar added to the edifice of famous men who have done so much for literature and art in our generation. Truly there were giants abroad in those days, by comparison with whom these present ones may well seem barren of greatness.
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Algernon Charles Swinburne

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE. 1861

Figure: Water color. Monogram and date upper right: "1861." Head and shoulders against and emerald-green ground, the head looking to the left; bush of auburn hair; slight moustache; yellow cravat and jewlled pin; blue coat. Surtees, p. 198



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CHAPTER VI

WORK FROM 1858 TO 1862
THE year 1858, while the Oxford affair was still in train, and Rossetti was busied besides with the Llandaff triptych, saw the completion of two important pen-and-ink drawings which had been in hand a long time previously. These were the Hamlet and Ophelia (purchased from the easel by T. E. Plint, of Leeds, for  

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

D. G. ROSSETTI, 1861.

Figure: Pencil. Text in lower right corner: monogram and Oct 1861. Head and shoulders of DGR, facing front, with moustache and bushy goatee.



£40, at the same time as the drawing of Launcelot escaping from Guenevere's Chamber ) and Mary Magdalene at the Door of Simon the Pharisee . The former is now the property of Colonel Gillum, who owns several interesting drawings by Rossetti. It represents the scene in Act III., where Ophelia is returning Hamlet's gifts, holding them out to him while she turns away her head. He, with arms outstretched upon the back of a sculptured seat, is uttering the speech which ends: “What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven?” The carving of the seat is curious, and typical of the amount of thought that Rossetti put into such accessory details. It represents the tree of knowledge, encircled by a crowned serpent, between two angels with uplifted swords. In the space is inscribed vertically “Eritis sicut deus scientes bonum et malum.” On an upturned miserere seat below is a carved relief
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of Uzzah falling dead after touching the ark of the covenant. Apart from its great wealth of detail and richness of treatment, this drawing is highly remarkable for its intellectual conception of the character of Hamlet. At a time when there lingered the hideous tradition of nodding plumes and trunk hose, Rossetti has represented the Prince gracefully and gravely attired, with hair tossed back, and such a handsome serious face as Mr. Benson or Mr. Forbes Robertson would offer us to-day. The same subject, but with considerable variation of treatment, was painted by Rossetti in 1866 as a water-colour, and was bought by Mr. A. T. Squarey, of Bebington, Cheshire, to whom it still belongs. In this version Hamlet and Ophelia are standing at an opening in a gallery, he holding her right hand in both of his. He is in black, she in a blue close-fitting robe with red sleeves, and a design in yellow embroidered on the left shoulder. She is turning her head away as in the other case, as if reluctantly suffering his caress. The gifts she is returning, including an ivory casket, are ranged on a sill before them. The reproduction, which is inserted here out of its proper place, will make these differences clear. Mr. Fairfax Murray possesses early sketches for both of these designs. In the one for the pen-and-ink drawing the outstretched arms of Hamlet have been erased, and then drawn hanging down or clasped in front. Rossetti afterwards went back to his first idea, which was incomparably the better. The sketch for the water-colour is dated 1865, possibly by some other hand, and has been published under the erroneous title of Romeo and Juliet or Lovers in a Window . It is in pen-and-ink outline.
The drawing of Mary Magdalene , perhaps the most perfect of all Rossetti's early works, was begun at least by 1853, 1 and continued to occupy his thoughts in one form or another for many years. Perhaps it would be best, in case there are any to whom the subject is not familiar, to quote his own description of it, written however, not for this drawing, but for a replica in oil which he supplied to Mr. Clabburn, of Norwich, in 1865, or perhaps copied from an earlier letter:

“The scene represents two houses opposite each other, one of which is that of Simon the Pharisee, where Christ and Simon, with other guests, are seated at table. In the


Transcribed Footnote (page 96):

1 Mr. Murray has an early pen-and-ink sketch of the principal group in which all the figures are reversed. The Magdalen, restrained from behind by an old woman, is advancing towards the spectator's left, and Christ with Simon is at the left of the picture, inside a long portico or colonnade, to a pillar of which Mary is clinging. Her lover and a girl are barring the way. This may be the same as a “tiny sketch in ink” mentioned by Mr. Sharp as having been at one time in the possession of C. A. Howell, of whom more anon.

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Hamlet and Ophelia

Hamlet and Ophelia

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Pen and ink. Monogram lower right corner. In a small oratory, Hamlet, wearing a black robe, stands center with arms outstretched, leaning against an ornately carved panel depicting Biblical scenes. He plucks a flower from a tree at left. He stares at Ophelia, seated at lower right, who turns away from Hamlet, returning his letters with her right hand, and holding a book with her left.



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Hamlet and Ophelia

HAMLET AND OPHELIA: FROM THE WATER-COLOUR

Figure: Water colour. Hamlet, at left, clasps Ophelia's right hand to his face. Ophelia stands right, face turned right away from Hamlet, left hand resting on an open book on a table.



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opposite house a great banquet is held, and feasters are trooping to it dressed in cloth of gold and crowned with flowers. The musicians play at the door, and each couple kiss as they enter. Mary Magdalene has been in this procession, but has suddenly turned aside at the sight of Christ, and is pressing forward up the steps of Simon's house, and casting the roses from her hair. Her lover and a woman have followed her out of the procession and are laughingly trying to turn her back. The woman bars the door with her arm. Those nearest the Magdalene in the group of feasters have stopped short in wonder and are looking after her, while a beggar girl offers them flowers from her basket. A girl near the front of the procession has caught sight of Mary and waves her garland to turn her back. Beyond this the narrow street abuts on the high road and river. The young girl seated on the steps is a little beggar who has had food given her from within the house, and is wondering to see Mary go in there, knowing her as a famous woman in the city. Simon looks disdainfully at her, and the servant who is setting a dish on the table smiles, knowing her too. Christ looks towards her from within, waiting till she shall reach him. A fawn crops the vine on the wall where Christ is seen, and some fowls gather to share the beggar girl's dinner, giving a kind of equivalent to Christ's words: ‘Yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.’ ”

In addition to this description Rossetti wrote a sonnet for the picture, which is found in his first volume, called Poems. The first eight lines are addressed by the lover to Mary, seeking to dissuade her from entering the house, and the sestett is her reply:



  • “Oh loose me! See'st thou not my Bridegroom's face
  • That draws me to Him? For His feet my kiss,
  • My hair, my tears He craves to-day:—and oh!
  • What words can tell what other day and place
  • Shall see me clasp those blood-stained feet of His?
  • He needs me, calls me, loves me: let me go!”


This drawing of Mary Magdalene with her many companions was not the first finished version done, for Rossetti mentions in one of his letters an earlier “single figure of Mary leaving the house of feasting, ” which had been noticed in the “North Atlantic Monthly.” Whether this exists or not I am unaware. The big drawing itself has had a chequered history. It was originally acquired by Mr. Plint, but did not figure in his sale. Subsequently it vanished for some years, and was re-discovered not long since in a shop in Brompton Road. It is now in the possession of Mr. Charles Ricketts, the artist.
A large pencil drawing of the principal figures, dated 1870, with a specially fine face for the Magdalen, used to be in the possession of Mrs. Schott, and was acquired from her by Lord Battersea, who has recently parted with it to Mr. Fairfax Murray. The other known versions of the subject, some parts of which may be attributable to Rossetti's assistants rather than to himself, include an oil picture 24 by 24 in., painted in 1865 for Mr. Clabburn as mentioned above
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(and exhibited in 1883 by a Mr. Keir), and a water-colour in the possession of Gertrude, Lady Pembroke, which also seems to be dated 1865. In this the Magdalen's dress is powdered with tulip-like flowers, her lover is partly in yellow, his flowing cloak covered with a different pattern from that in the pen-and-ink version. There are gold dresses and gold sleeves skilfully disposed in the procession beyond, which suggest that Rossetti at all events superintended the  

Mary in the House of St.                         John

DESIGN FOR MARY IN THE HOUSE OF JOHN.

Figure: Pencil sketch. At left St. John, seated in profile to the right, works with a spinning wheel. Mary, standing at right facing profile left, mends a window frame which resembles the Cross.



colouring, if he did not actually paint the picture. A much larger copy in oil than any of the foregoing was commissioned about 1862 or 1863 by Mr. John Heugh, but was cancelled for some reason afterwards, the only part remaining of it being the head and shoulders of the Magdalen, which are supposed to have been painted.
The head of the Christ seen through the window of Simon's house has a special interest attaching to it, and has been more than once a subject of dispute. It was drawn from the late Sir Edward Burne-Jones, or, according to some, from Mr. George Meredith,
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Mary Magdalene at the Door                         of Simon the Pharisee

Mary Magdalene at the door of Simon

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Pen and India ink. Monogram and date lower right corner: "1858." Mary at center, removes flowers from her hair, as she stands on the steps of a brick building staring through its front entrance at Christ, whose haloed face is visible in a window at far right. Her lover and a woman clasp her foot and knee to prevent her from entering. At left stand a crowd of garlanded men and women and at lower right a deer stands eating from a tree.



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whom it undoubtedly also resembles. At a later date, after 1862, Mr. Meredith was for a time a co-tenant with Rossetti of his Chelsea house, and it is this relationship which may have suggested the theory that he sat for the head. But the date of the pen-and-ink drawing, apart from all other considerations, makes it certain that this could not be; and the likeness to Burne-Jones, at the time in question, is said to be sufficiently striking.
An enlarged circular drawing of the head of Christ in mixed oil and water-colour was done in 1859, and belonged for some years to Mr. Moncure D. Conway, who exhibited it at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1883. He has since sold it.
Another subject finished in 1858, though in hand as already mentioned a year or two earlier, was Mary in the House of John . The scene is at late twilight, or in an eastern night, the red glow of the sky casting a purple light over the clustered dwellings of Nazareth, with deep blue hills beyond. In the interior of the room are Mary and St. John, the latter seated in shadow, engaged in striking light from a flint; whilst Mary, standing before the tall window, the framework of which resembles a cross, fills a hanging lamp from a long red jar of oil. The suggestion for this—as for more than one other of his pictures of the Virgin—is to be found in Rossetti's poem of “Ave”. I quote the special passage:



  • “Mind'st thou not (when the twilight gone
  • Left darkness in the house of John)
  • Between the naked window-bars
  • That spacious vigil of the stars?—
  • For thou, a watcher even as they,
  • Would'st rise from where throughout the day
  • Thou wroughtest raiment for His poor;
  • And finding the fixed terms endure
  • Of day and night which never brought
  • Sounds of His coming chariot,
  • Would'st lift through cloud-waste unexplored
  • Those eyes which said, ‘How long, O Lord?’”
This fine water-colour, full of delicate feeling and glowing colour, was bought by Lady Trevelyan of Wallington, in whose possession it did not however remain. The next, or at all events a subsequent, owner was Mr. R. E. Loft, who exhibited it at Burlington House in 1883. 1 A few years later it was on exhibition at the
Transcribed Footnote (page 99):

1 The title given in the catalogue,Mary in the House of John on the night of the Crucifixion , is wrong, the supposed scene being long after the Crucifixion. St. John in the picture is probably engaged on his gospel, the net which occupies him by day being hung up on the wall behind.

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Galleries of the Fine Art Society, and seems since to have been allowed to pass out of the country. A replica, by no means equal in quality to the first version, was painted in 1859 for the late Miss Heaton, of Leeds, and still forms part of her nephew's collection. A certain number of pencil drawings of the subject are scattered about, the one reproduced here being in Mr. Fairfax Murray's possession. Some of these may date from 1849, when the subject was first designed as one compartment of a triptych, of which the other side was to have represented the Virgin planting a lily and a rose, and the centre the Passover subject illustrated on page 68.
The next drawing to be chronicled is one called Golden Water , or The Princess Parisadé , a subject taken from “The Arabian Nights.” This probably belonged once to Mr. Ruskin, and is now in the possession of Mrs. Constance Churchill. The Princess, a sort of Cinderella, is seen descending from the mountain, with the singing tree behind her and over her head the talking bird. In her arms she bears the barrel of golden water.
The only other items to be recorded under 1858 are a water-colour called Ruth and Boaz , in which Boaz is represented in the cornfield holding the maiden's hand and kissing her upon the forehead, and another called Before the Battle , painted for Rossetti's American friend, Professor Norton, of Harvard. In the letter of July, 1858, from which a portion dealing with the Union paintings has already been quoted, Rossetti wrote as follows:

“The drawing which I have for you is called Before the Battle , and represents a castle-full of ladies who have been embroidering banners which are now being fastened to the spears by the Lady of the castle. There are a good many figures and half figures, large and small, in it; and I hope that in colour it is one of the best things I have done. . . . These chivalric Froissartian themes are quite a passion of mine, but whether of yours also I do not know.”

Then follow some details about payment, the “Oxford labours of love ” having, as he explains, left him rather aground. The price asked for it was £50. This was accepted and presumably paid, and then we hear no more about Before the Battle until January, 1862 (!), when Rossetti writes once more to Professor Norton, giving as his reason for not having sent it that “it did not prove a favourite with our mutual friend Ruskin, ” and adding that he himself had begun to think it “rather ultra-mediæval, it having been produced during a solitary stay in the country of some length, when I was peculiarly nourishing myself with such impressions. ” He promised, however, to put some improving and finishing touches on it and to send it off within a week.
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Before the Battle

BEFORE THE BATTLE.

Figure: Water colour. A woman standing on a dais is in the act of fastening a coloured pennant to a halberd held by a young knight; further pennants are attached to an upright embroidery frame. Warriors in armour gather up their spears on the left; in the background women are working at looms and carding wool.Surtees, p. 60.



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Golden Water (Princess                         Parisade)

GOLDEN WATER: OR THE PRINCESS PARISADÉ

Figure: Water colour. Full-length of a standing woman facing front, holding a black barrel with both hands. In the distance stands the green mountain;behind her is the lilac singing tree with the scarlet talking bird fluttering in the branches heavy with mauve blossom.Surtees, p. 61.



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In 1859 there is not very much to record besides the Dante and Beatrice panels already mentioned. Rossetti, it must be presumed, was principally at work on the Llandaff altar-piece, which did not reach completion, and the rest of his output was scanty. He produced  

My Lady Greensleeves

DESIGN FOR “MY LADY GREENSLEEVES.”

Figure: Pencil. A girl, whole-length, kneeling to the left is in the act of tying a sleeve round a helmet.Surtees, p. 68



the replica already mentioned of Mary in the House of John , for Miss Heaton, and apparently began, if he did not finish, one of Giotto painting the portrait of Dante . 1 He also finished the Sir Galahad after his 1856 Tennyson design. The only new water-colour of this date is a little thing, mostly in yellow, of a lady binding a green scarf round a helmet, called My Lady Greensleeves . In one corner it has a few bars of the old tune, with the words:



  • “Greensleeves is my Heart of Gold,
  • And who but my Lady Greensleeves?”


This drawing was for many years in the possession of the Rev. Edward Hale, of Eton College, familiarly known to generations of
Transcribed Footnote (page 101):

1 Mr. Murray owns a water-colour replica in an unfinished state. The Giotto in this is quite different, and appears to have been done from Mr. Val Prinsep.

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Eton boys as “Badger ” Hale, and at his death it passed into the possession of another Eton master, the Rev. S. A. Donaldson, who has kindly allowed me to reproduce it. I have heard that Rossetti was much annoyed at some criticisms passed upon the drawing by one of the reviews, and that he set to and daubed the background all over, spoiling some very fine work. Mr. Murray has lent me, for comparison with the finished picture, an earlier pencil version with the subject differently arranged.
The last and most important item of this year, completed about November, is a highly-finished little head in oils, called Bocca Baciata , which came into the possession of Mr. Boyce. The model for this—or rather the sitter, for it is simply a portrait framed in marigolds—was Miss Fanny Cornforth, afterwards Mrs. Schott, who has already been mentioned as the model for Found , and whose florid type of beauty reappears in a series of sensuous pictures of the kind that Rossetti began to paint after 1862— Aurelia (Fazio's Mistress) , The Blue Bower , The Lady at her Toilet , Lilith , and The Lady of the Fan . These pictures, and numerous portraits in oil and water-colour, of which there is a typical one dated 1862 in the possession of Mr. Rae, give a sufficiently recognizable idea of this model, who exercised almost as remarkable an influence over Rossetti's life as over his art. “She was pre-eminently a fine woman,” says Mr. William Rossetti, who was in a position to judge, “with regular and sweet features, and a mass of the most lovely blonde hair—light-golden or harvest yellow. ” Her régime, however, came at a later period than the one we are discussing, and does not concern us here. The title of Bocca Baciata is taken from some lines in a sonnet by Boccaccio: “Bocca baciata non perde ventura, anzi rinuova come fa la Luna ”—the mouth that has been kissed loses not its freshness; still it renews itself even as does the moon. The portrait is full-face, perhaps a little faded in colour, with lips of a purplish crimson, and bright reddish-gold hair. The flesh under-tints are very green, but the modelling is like a miniature, as fine and delicate as anything by a Dutch or Flemish master. It was exhibited at the old Hogarth Club, and later at Burlington House in 1883. At the sale of Mr. Boyce's pictures this much esteemed work was acquired by Mr. Fairfax Murray. Rossetti painted several heads later after much the same pattern as Bocca Baciata , of which two, a Regina Cordium done for the late Mr. Trist, of Brighton, and a water-colour of 1868 called Bionda del Balcone , may be regarded as inferior replicas.
Bonifazio's Mistress , another of the charming little water-colours
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My Lady Greensleeves

MY LADY GREENSLEEVES

Figure: Water colour. Monogram lower left. Full length of a woman kneeling, leaning to the left, winding a sleeve around a helmet.



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Bonifazio's Mistress

Figure: Pen and brown ink. At center, a fainting woman is supported by a kneeling man at left and two women standing at right. At left, a chair sits beside the portrait of the fainting woman.



 

Bonifazio's Mistress

BONIFAZIO'S MISTRESS: FROM THE PEN-AND-INK SKETCH AND FROM THE WATERCOLOUR

Figure: Water colour. At center, a fainting woman is supported by a kneeling man at left and two women standing at right. At left, a chair sits beside the portrait of the fainting woman.



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acquired by the late Mr. Boyce, was painted in 1860, and is dated on the back. It shows a lady (dressed in the same brightly be-ribanded flounces as Lucretia Borgia wears in the little 1851 group) who has been sitting to her lover, a painter, when suddenly she has fallen back in her chair, dead. The painter has dropped his palette and kneels in front of her, trying to restore her. Two attendant ladies with anxious looks are holding her hands and examining her face. The composition of the group and the colouring are alike charming, and it enjoys a distinction of being rather more widely known to students of Rossetti's work than many of these small water-colours, from the fact that its late owner allowed it to be reproduced for “The Hobby Horse” in 1889.
The connection of this subject with the painter, Bonifazio (or Fazio) degli Uberti, even if intended, is entirely fanciful. There can be little doubt—in fact a letter from Rossetti to Mr. Boyce, quoted in the “Hobby Horse,” says as much—that it was intended to illustrate Rossetti's own story of “St. Agnes of Intercession”. When this story was to appear in “ The Germ,” Rossetti began to do an etching for it, which turned out a failure. Millais then, in a hurry, did another to replace it, which was never used, because “ The Germ” came to an end and the story was not published. A couple of proofs from Millais's plate (one of which I have seen) remain to show the incident illustrated, which is taken from the end of the tale, where the lady to whom the hero is affianced suddenly falls back and dies as he is painting her, thereby fulfilling a sort of destiny enjoined by the like tragedy which had happened in a previous state of existence. In addition to the water-colour, Mr. Murray has allowed me to reproduce an earlier pen-and-ink sketch , which has not been published before.
Bonifazio's Mistress has no connection whatever either in subject or composition with the oil painting done for Mr. Blackmore in 1863 (now Mr. Rae's), and afterwards re-named Aurelia . The latter is simply a three-quarter length figure of a lady plaiting her hair before a toilet glass.
This (1860) was the year of Rossetti's marriage, as has already been stated, and in June he was at Paris on his honeymoon. While there he executed two pen-and-ink drawings, one of which, the design of How they met Themselves , done for Mr. Boyce to replace the earlier version of 1851 which had been lost, has already been mentioned on page 39. The other represents a scene from Boswell's“Life of Johnson,” a rather curious source of inspiration for Rossetti, rendered
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more remarkable from the fact that the incident chosen is of a humorous and spicy character. Dr. Maxwell told the story how two young women from Staffordshire had come up to town to consult Johnson about Methodism, in which they were much interested. “Come, ” said he, “you pretty fools, dine with Maxwell and me at the Mitre, and we will talk over that subject; ” which they did, and after dinner he took one of them on his knee, and fondled her for half-an-hour together. Dr. Johnson and the would-be Methodists at the Mitre is an almost unique piece of genre work on the part of Rossetti, who has entered with zest into the humour and surroundings of the scene. His Johnson is quite a study in portraiture, but instead of Maxwell he has introduced the more recognizable features of Boswell.
Almost immediately after Rossetti's marriage a severe blow fell upon him through the death of Mr. Plint, one of his handsomest patrons at that time. Apart from the indirect loss which this involved, there was the fact that Mr. Plint had advanced him several hundred pounds on account of work commissioned—much of which, as would have been the case at any period of Rossetti's life, was not even put in hand. Amongst the pictures which Rossetti with great struggles produced in order to repay this advance was a water-colour copy of the Dr. Johnson drawing, which at the sale of Mr. Plint's effects in 1865 fetched seventy-six guineas. It was exhibited at Burlington House in 1883 by Mr. J. Stewart Hodgson (together with the pen-and-ink version , lent by Mr. Boyce), and is now the property of Mr. Fairfax Murray, who has allowed it to be reproduced here. The other pictures belonging to, or done for the Plint estate, which were sold at the same time as the Dr. Johnson , were Burd Alane (oil) and the Garden Bower (water-colour), both acquired by Mr. Leathart; The Wedding of St. George (water-colour), bought by Mr. Rae; and Carlisle Wall (water-colour—called at that time simply The Lovers ), bought by Mr. H. V. Tebbs. The Hamlet and Launcelot drawings did not figure in the list, and an oil portrait of the painter's wife, entitled Regina Cordium (being a replica of the last one painted of her), was removed from the sale in consequence of her recent death, to spare Rossetti's feelings. Mr. William Rossetti notes with regard to this sale that a dead set was made against the Pre-Raphaelite pictures, and that his brother for the rest of his life mistrusted and avoided auction rooms, just as from a similar single instance at an earlier date he had chosen to avoid exhibitions for his pictures.
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Dr. Johnson at the                         Mitre

DR JOHNSON AT THE MITRE

Figure: Water colour. At a tavern, Johnson and Boswell sit at a table between two ladies with bonnets. Johnson takes tea with the woman on the left, gesturing with his right hand, while at right Boswell drinks from a spoon and the second lady leans towards Johnson. A man lights the lantern directly above the table.



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Sig. P
To return to the output of 1860, Rossetti in this year was attracted once more towards the annals of the Borgia family, a group of which he had painted in 1851. His subject now was the single upright figure of Lucretia Borgia, washing her hands at a basin after preparing a poison draught for her unhappy husband, Duke Alphonso  

Lucretia Borgia

LUCRETIA BORGIA, FIRST DESIGN.

Figure: Water colour. Full length of a woman wearing a dress with sleeves, facing front, washing her hands her hands in a basin at right. At left, a mirror reflects the image of two men, and a flask containing a liquid sits on a counter. A large potted plant sits beside the basin. A scroll with text appears along the bottom edge of the painting. The text is unclear, and Surtees does not record it. This first design no longer exists because DGR painted S124 over it either when it was in his posession during 1873-1874 or immediately after Rae purchased it in June 1874.



of Bisceglia. In a circular mirror at the back the latter can be seen hobbling on crutches, and being walked about the room by Pope Alexander IV., as Rossetti said, “to settle the poison well into his system.” The drawing had a curious history. In its original state Lucretia was stiffly drawn in a straight gown with puffed sleeves. In this condition it was acquired by Mr. Leyland; but some time
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afterwards it was got back by Rossetti, who repainted the lady entirely, representing her with sinuous and ample curves, and turning her whole head towards the spot where her husband is supposed to be walking. The altered drawing, formerly Mr. Leyland's, is the one now belonging to Mr. Rae, which bears evidence of patching in the way described. But Rossetti painted two or three replicas of it, all larger than Mr. Rae's version, of which one, dated 1871, is in the possession of Mr. J. Beausire (who had it from Mr. Coltart), another (undated) is in the possession of Mr. Fairfax Murray. From a photograph taken of the original design, of which one or two copies exist, it is possible to show what the picture was like before, as well as after alteration. It had a long legend at the bottom, which ran, so far as I can decipher it: “Dom. Lucretiam de stirpe Borgia Alphonsi Ducis Biscelliae uxorem aetate xxiv sua anno MD Dantes Gabrieles Rossetti pinx.”
Amongst other less known compositions Rossetti is one belonging to this year, of Joseph accused by Potiphar's wife , a finished pen-and-ink drawing which used to belong to Mr. Anderson Rose, and which a note on the back states was acquired by him at Rossetti's studio on a certain date, “at 3 o'clock in the morning.” The Egyptian “local colour ” in this design is strongly marked, and it is altogether a pleasant little work. It has not been mentioned in any previous list or record, though it appeared at the Burlington Club in 1883, and figures in the catalogue of Mr. Anderson Rose's sale. It now belongs to Mr. Fairfax Murray.
In 1861 Rossetti's translations from the Italian poets were at last published, together with the “Vita Nuova,” in a volume called “The Early Italian Poets from Ciullo d'Alcamo to Dante Alighieri (1100-1200-1300).” Ruskin generously assisted the production by advancing £100 to the publishers, Smith, Elder and Co., and the sale of the first edition just sufficed to pay this back, with £10 or so over for Rossetti. A second edition, now hardly less scarce than the first, was called for in 1874, and amongst other changes bore the altered title, “Dante and his Circle.” Rossetti thought out a very beautiful and charming design of two lovers kissing in a rose garden, which he proposed to etch on copper for the title-page. The plate, however, displeased him as usual, and he destroyed it, only two proofs [proof 1] [proof 2] remaining (both now in the possession of Mr. Murray). Various pen-and-ink drawings of the subject nevertheless exist, one of which, from a copy also belonging to Mr. Murray (or rather from a woodcut of it), is reproduced here. The central idea of this design reappears in
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Lucrezia Borgia

LUCRETIA BORGIA

Figure: Water colour. Full length of a woman wearing a sleeveless dress, facing front, washing her hands her hands in a basin at right. Her head leans slightly to the left, where a mirror reflects the image of two men, and a flask containing a liquid sits on a counter. A large potted plant sits beside the basin.



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Love's Greeting

LOVE'S GREETING

Figure: Oil. A crowned angel stands at left playing a stringed instrument, her left wing extended behind two lovers kissing. The lovers are a woman bending over a kneeling man. Flowers grow at right and petals are strewn on the ground. A scroll at top reads: "Madonna, Dio vi fece, Dio vi guardi, Madonna Dio v'onori"; a scroll at the bottom reads: "Dio v'innalzi, Madonna, Dio vi dia le voglie vostre."



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various forms about the period we are dealing with. It will be found, for instance, in Love's Greeting , a little panel containing, in addition to the lovers, a crowned figure of Amor bearing a harp in his hand; and in a water-colour of 1864 inscribed Roman de  

The Rose Garden

Figure: Etching. Two lovers kissing in a flower garden, a woman who bends over a kneeling man. The background of the upper half of the picture is a design of alternating hearts and cross-hatched circles. Handwritten text appears at top: "THE EARLY ITALIAN POETS / from Ciullo d'Alcamo to Dante Alighieri / translated by D. Gabriel Rossetti." and at bottom: "London. Smith, Elder & Co. 1861."



la Rose
, in which again Love appears overshadowing the kissing pair with his wings.
The portrait in oils of Mrs. Rossetti, called Regina Cordium or The Queen of Hearts , has already been mentioned. It was first done on a little panel, 10 by 8 inches, in 1861, and shows no more than the head and bare shoulders, on a gold ground, behind a parapet on which rests one hand holding a purple pansy. The title is inscribed
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on the parapet, and is faintly re-echoed by a little heart-shaped pendant on a coral necklace. This portrait was acquired by Ruskin, who after a time disliked “the mahogany coloured hair and coral beads,” and gave it away to his friend Mr. Severn, who has it now. This is the version which is reproduced here. Rossetti, contrary to what might have been expected in such a case, painted more than one replica of the portrait, of which I presume the Plint picture mentioned a page or two back to have been one. Another belongs to Mrs. Philip Rathbone, of Liverpool.A water-colour copy, which appeared at the New Gallery in 1897-8, but did not remain there long, is almost certainly not genuine. 1 In addition to these versions of his wife, Rossetti painted other heads from different sitters and called them Regina Cordium. The first, dated November, 1861, was an oil portrait of Mrs. Aldam Heaton , the wife of a friend with whom Rossetti afterwards quarrelled. Another, painted in 1866, was done from Miss Alice Wilding, a model who sat for many of Rossetti's prettiest faces ( Veronica Veronese , Sea Spell , La Ghirlandata , The Blessed Damozel , The Roman Widow , Monna Vanna , and Sibylla Palmifera ). This belonged to Mr. Trist, of Brighton, and was sold in 1892. Somewhat akin to these, or perhaps rather to the Bocca Baciata type, is a life-sized oil portrait of “a fair, red-haired young woman, with bare shoulders, a rose in her hair, and round her throat coral and amber necklaces,” called Fair Rosamund , which belonged to the late Mr. Pyke Thompson, and is now amongst the collection of pictures deposited by him at the Turner House, Penarth. This, and a study for Found , called The Farmer's Daughter , already mentioned, were sent by Rossetti as a sort of experiment to an exhibition of the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, where they attracted no particular attention and were not sold.
A more important outcome of the year is the very fine and masterly composition known as Cassandra , in Colonel Gillum's possession. The subject is a scene on the walls of Troy, and is described in a letter of Rossetti to the owner as follows:

“The incident is just before Hector's last battle. Cassandra has warned him in vain by her prophecies, and is now throwing herself against a pillar, and rending her clothes in despair, because he will not be detained longer. He is rushing down the steps and trying to make himself heard across her noise, as he shouts an order to the officer in charge of the soldiers who are going round the ramparts on their way to battle. One of


Transcribed Footnote (page 108):

1 There should be somewhere in existence a water-colour portrait of Rossetti's wife , with a gold background, I know not of what date, which used to belong to C. A. Howell, and was disposed of by him about 1874, together with other genuine drawings which have not since turned up.

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Regina Cordium

REGINA CORDIUM: PORTRAIT OF MRS. D. G. ROSSETTI

Figure: Oil. Title inscribed lower center. Head and shoulders of a woman, head turned slightly to left, right hand clutching a flower. She wears a necklace witha heart-shaped pendant.



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Fair Rosamund

FAIR ROSAMUND

Swantype

Figure: Oil. Head and shoulders of a woman, head turned slightly to right, leaning against a railing, holding a stick and a silk cord in her right hand. She wears two necklaces and a flower is in her hair.



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his captains is beckoning to him to make haste. Behind him is Andromache with their child, and a nurse who is holding the cradle. Helen is arming Paris in a leisurely way on a sofa; we may presume from her expression that Cassandra has not spared her in her denunciations. Paris is patting her on the back to soothe her, much amused. Priam and Hecuba are behind, the latter stopping her ears in horror. One brother is imploring Cassandra to desist from her fear-inspiring cries. The ramparts are lined with engines for casting stones on the besiegers.”

The pen-and-ink drawing reproduced here was worked upon and improved (as well as re-dated) in 1867; but even as it stands it is a  

Aspecta Medusa

ASPECTA MEDUSA.

Figure: Pen and ink. Andromeda, leaning against Perseus, looks down into a pool at the reflection of the head of Medusa, which Perseus holds over the water with his right hand. Both her arms clutch his left arm.



wonderful example of Rossetti's skill in invention and resourcefulness in composition. Rossetti wrote two sonnets for the drawing of Cassandra , which will be found in his volume of Poems. The first describes the futile warning of the prophetess, the mocking of Paris, the grief of Andromache, and then the departure of Hector:

  • “He goes. Cassandra's words beat heavily
  • Like crows above his crest, and at his ear
  • Ring hollow in the shield that shall not save.”
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The second foreshadows the death of Hector in the plain and the ruin of the fore-doomed city.
The pity is great that Rossetti never had an opportunity to paint the picture for which this was merely a preliminary design. Mr. Leyland and Mr. Rae both had the offer of it, but at a very high figure (£2,100, I believe), and it was never commenced. Rossetti, at the date when these offers were made, had begun to paint the deeply imaginative or sumptuous single figures which proved so acceptable to his later patrons, and he could not thenceforward find time or encouragement or money to carry out elaborate subjects. The one exception, almost, to this rule is the great picture of Dante's Dream , the disposal of which (on account of its size) gave the painter an infinite amount of anxiety and trouble.
One must go back to the earlier fifties to find a period in Rossetti's life so prolific in invention and ideas as were these two brief married years of 1860 and 1861. The completion and delivery of his Llandaff altar-piece , although one panel was not actually sent out until 1864, doubtless left him freer to try new designs.In addition to Cassandra he planned the composition for a large picture , subsequently commissioned but never finished, of Perseus showing the Medusa's head to Andromeda ( Aspecta Medusa 1), and made the first rough pencil studies for Beata Beatrix , the most harmonious, as well as the most widely popular, of all his works. Other little pencil drawings of figures, bearing such titles as Lachesis and The Laurel , may have belonged to the same or to a somewhat later period. The water-colour of Bethlehem Gate , belonging to Mr. Heaton, which represents the Holy Family being led away at night by a pair of angels, one of whom closes behind them the door through which the massacre is seen, also belongs to 1862, though whether earlier or later than the gap caused by Mrs. Rossetti's death I am not certain.
Transcribed Footnote (page 110):

1 For the design of Aspecta Medusa Rossetti composed in 1865 the following lines, which were published in his Poems of 1870:

  • “Andromeda, by Perseus saved and wed,
  • Hankered each day to see the Gorgon's head:
  • Till o'er the fount he held it, bade her lean,
  • And mirrored in the wave was safely seen
  • The death she lived by.
  • Let not thine eyes know
  • Any forbidden thing itself, although
  • It once should save as well as kill: but be
  • Its shadow upon life enough for thee.”
Sir Edward Burne-Jones did not begin to paint his pictures of the “ Perseus” series until 1877.

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Cassandra

CASSANDRA

Figure: Pen and ink. The incident is just before Hector's last battle. Cassandra has warned him in vain by her prophecies, and is now throwing herself against a pillar, and rending her clothes in despair, because he will not be detained longer. He is rushing down the steps and trying to make himself heard across her noise, as he shouts an order to the officer in charge of the soldiers who are going round the ramparts on their way to battle. One of his captains is beckoning to him to make haste. Behind him is Andromache with their child, and a nurse who is holding the cradle. Helen is arming Paris in a leisurely way on a sofa; we may presume from her expression that Cassandra has not spared her in her denunciations. Paris is patting her on the back to soothe her, much amused. Priam and Hecuba are behind, the latter stopping her ears in horror. One brother is imploring Cassandra to desist from her fear-inspiring cries. The ramparts are lined with engines for casting stones on the besiegers.Surtees, p. 80



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The Annunciation

THE ANNUNCIATION: DESIGN FOR A PULPIT PANEL

Figure: Water colour. Monogram lower left corner. An angel at top leans over a fence to speak to Mary, who sits bottom looking up at him. The angel clutches a flower from the garden beside the fence with his right hand, gesturing with his left. A haloed dove sits beside Mary, whose arms are extended towards the ground.



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It seems to have been invented some ten or eleven years previously, to judge from the date ascribed to a pen-and-ink study in the catalogue of Rossetti's effects. These dates, however, are very untrustworthy.
About this time (1861-1862) the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co. was just being started, with William Morris, Rossetti, Faulkner, Burne-Jones, Madox Brown, Webb, and others as the active promoters of a venture which was to reform the arts of decoration and furniture making. The notion of a trading company, at that date a most unheard-of and revolutionary one, was due in large measure, Mr. Mackail says, to Madox Brown, “but perhaps even more to Rossetti, who, poet and idealist as he was, had business qualities of a high order and the eye of a trained financier for anything that had money in it.” Tapestry, furniture, wall-papers, stained glass, painted panels, and later on carpet weaving and dyeing, were among the industries to which this band of highly original artists and designers turned their attention, the principle on which they went being that each member should be paid individually for the work commissioned by the firm, and that profits should be divided in a proper ratio at the end.
The Anglo-Catholic movement and the demand for decoration and ritual of an æsthetic and sensuous kind gave the new firm plenty to do, amongst their first commissions being the embellishment of two new churches then being built by Bodley, St. Martin's on the Hill, Scarborough, and St. Michael's at Brighton. For the former Rossetti executed a design for two pulpit panels and several windows, achieving from the very first a mastery over this branch of art which few designers have ever surpassed. It is characteristic of his original mind that he went right back to the fundamental principles of vitraux, paying no attention whatever to the elaborations which had grown round them, and recognizing that a picture which was transparent, that is, seen by transmitted light, must be conceived in flat tones and not made to give the illusion of shading, as can be done in the case of a surface from which the light is reflected. The following are the designs by Rossetti done for St. Martin's, and to be seen there now.
The Annunciation . A design intended to fill two vertical panels. In the upper one the angel with outspread wings is descending upon the Virgin, who in the lower one is sitting with upturned face and a book on her knees amongst a bed of lilies. A high trellised hedge covered with red roses forms a background to the
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picture. As will be seen, this version of the Annunciation bears no affinity either to the Ecce Ancilla of Rossetti's earliest days or to the  

Adam and Eve before the Fall

ADAM AND EVE WINDOWS.

Figure: Two stained glass windows. The first depicts Eve standing in profile to the right, the second Adam standing facing front, head looking down. Both figures are partly covered with leaves.



water-colour of 1855 in the possession of Mrs. Boyce. Mr. Sharp says expressly that the painting was done by Rossetti, but he does not mention the grounds on which the statement is made, and I expect he would find the information to be inaccurate. At any rate,
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The Story of St. George and                         the Dragon:  The Skulls Brought to the King

Figure: Indian ink. A boy kneels over a basket of skulls, gesturing towards it with his left hand. He faces right, where a seated king, queen, and prince stare at the skulls. An old man stands directly behind the skulls, holding a picture of a dragon. At far left a crowd tries to peer over the boy's shoulders.



 

The Story of St. George and                         the Dragon: The   Princess Sabra Drawing the Lot

Figure: Water colour over Indian ink. A group of seated female figures with dismayed expressions, each clutching a piece of paper. At far right, a woman holds the piece of paper before her eyes with her right hand and clutches her head with the left.



 

The Story of St. George and                         the Dragon: The Princess  Sabra taken to the Dragon

ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON DESIGNS FOR WINDOWS (1)

Figure: Indian ink. Depicts a crowned woman, who leans against her hands, in a horse-drawn carriage. Two knights march with spears beside the carriage, one of whom speaks speaks to a third knight on horseback, who draws the carriage. A crowd can be glimpsed in the background.



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The Story of St. George and                         the Dragon: St. George   and the Dragon

Figure: Indian ink. At center, St. George, wearing armor, stabs the neck of the dragon, at right, with his right hand and holds his shield in front of the dragon's mouth with his left. At left stands the princess, slumped over, tied to a tree.



 

The Story of St. George and                         the Dragon: The Return   of the Princess

Figure: Indian ink. Inside a horse-drawn carriage, the princess folds her hands in prayer. Beside the carriage rides St. George, whose hands are also folded. A bearded man walks beside the carriage carrying the dragon's head atop a staff. Two girls scatter flowers in the foreground, and a crowd of faces stares in the background.



 

The Story of St. George and                         the Dragon: The Wedding   of St. George

ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON DESIGNS FOR WINDOWS (2)

Figure: Indian ink. St. George and the princess stand hand in hand leaning over a railing, flanked by the king on the left and queen on the right. In the foreground, two buglers blow their horns, and the head of the dragon and a sword lie in a basin on a table.



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the water-colour design for the panels , which is all that Rossetti might be expected to execute, exists and is in the possession of Mr. Dunlop, of Bingley, having previously belonged to Mr. John Miller. This Annunciation drawing is the one referred to in Mr. Rossetti's book as being a separate version of the subject, under the date 1864. It should be dated 1861 or 1862 at latest.
Adam and Eve before the Fall . Two windows for the west end, representing in one compartment Adam leaning upon a branch of a leafy tree and with his foot tickling a small brown bear that curls itself upon the ground. A squirrel watches him from above. In the other Eve is seen standing in a richly flowered field, her long fair hair falling unbound about her shoulders. She presses a white dove to her bosom, and in the tree above her a solemn owl is perched. Both figures are nude, with a rosy glow of flesh-colour, broken up by the graceful veiling of thick green foliage.
The Parable of the Vineyard . Seven designs for a window in the choir, of which M. Olivier Georges Destrée, one of the most appreciative critics of Rossetti, writes that it produces “an impression of colour, dazzling and magnificent, velvety and harmonious, resembling the Flemish stained glass windows decorating the Gothic cathedrals.” The central compartment of the window represents The Crucifixion , and round it are grouped the different incidents of the parable, the planting of the vine, the letting it out to husbandmen , the stoning of the servants , the feast of the vintage , the arrival of the young heir against whom the husbandmen are plotting, and, lastly, their judgment and condemnation by the master. The designs for the Parable of the Vineyard were at one time in the possession of Mr. Leyland, it is believed, and later came into the hands of Mr. McConnel, whose effects were sold at Manchester about 1870. I have not ascertained who has them now.
To the same category of work designed for Morris and Co., and executed by them during 1861 or 1862, may be added the following:
The Last Judgment . Nine designs in a circle for stained glass, of which the originals, formerly in Rossetti's possession, were bought after his death by a Mr. Brough.
St. George and the Dragon . A very famous set of six designs for stained glass, reproduced here. The original cartoons, of which the second, representing the Princess drawing the fatal lot, has been painted over in water-colour, belong to Mr. Fairfax Murray. A duplicate set, presumably consisting of shop tracings, is in the
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possession of Mr. Theodore Watts-Dunton, who acquired them from Rossetti.
King René's Honeymoon . This was a design for a panel, one of four representing the arts, done for the famous Gothic cabinet which Mr. J. P. Seddon had built by Morris and Co. to hold his architectural drawings. The history of this cabinet has recently been written by Mr. Seddon himself, and is published by Batsford, with separate illustrations of the various panels designed by Rossetti, Madox Brown, Burne-Jones, and others. Rossetti's subject was “Music,” in which the amiable and enlightened King of Sicily is seen leaning over a species of chamber-organ, on which his bride is playing, to kiss her. Rossetti also designed one of the minor panels, representing “Gardening.” The water-colour sketch for this, whether done at the time in colours or painted over the design afterwards, got the title of Spring , and as such is catalogued among Rossetti's works, mostly under the year 1864. A pen-and-ink drawing of the subject —a girl cutting blossoms from a tree—formerly belonged to Mr. H. V. Tebbs, but was sold by him to Mr. Murray. The whole question of dates, regarding this cabinet, has been somewhat mysterious. Mr. Sharp in his list gives “ King René's Honeymoon : oil: 1850,” which is of course impossible. The painting in oil was not done by Rossetti, and the Morris firm was not thought of in 1850. Mr. J. P. Anderson, in Mr. Knight's little book, gives the date as 1856-7, which is not much better; and even Mr. W. M. Rossetti has not corrected the mistake. Somewhere or other the water-colour design for King René's Honeymoon should exist, unless it has perished. A replica of it was painted in oil a year or two later for Mr. Trist, of Brighton, amongst whose pictures it figured in the sale of 1892.
Amor, Amans, Amata . These are three small figures in ovals, designed for the back of a sofa which Rossetti had made for himself, and which for many years stood in his house at Chelsea. The sofa, which has also six little circular heads in brown on gold along the front, belongs now to Mr. Murray.
Sir Tristram and La Belle Yseult drinking the Love Potion . This was a very beautiful design intended to form one of a series in stained glass for the windows of Mr. Birket Foster's house in Surrey. Other designs for the same series were done by Burne-Jones. The original cartoon, in sepia or Indian ink, which was the really fine thing, is not to be traced; but Rossetti painted a water-colour replica in 1867 for Mr. McConnel, which afterwards came into the possession
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Sir Tristram and La Belle                         Yseult Drinking the   Love Potion

TRISTRAM AND YSEULT DRINKING THE LOVE-POTION

Figure: Water-colour. Yseult, at left, clinks glasses with Tristram at right, who kisses her other hand. The two stand in a ship's cabin beside a table with a burning lamp. In background at right, the figure of Love takes an arrow from his quiver.



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King Rene's Honeymoon

KING RENÉ'S HONEYMOON: FROM THE CABINET PAINTED FOR MR. J. P. SEDDON

Figure: oil (?). King Rene (here uncrowned) leans forward across a low chamber-organ on which Queen Isabella is playing, and kisses her. The organ bears the names of the four Kingdoms of which René was titular King— Jerusalem, Sicily, Naples, and Cyprus.Surtees, p. 101



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of Mr. Leathart, 1 and this I have reproduced. It represents an incident in the story from “Morte Darthur,” when Tristram is bringing King Mark's betrothed to Cornwall, and when they drink the magic potion intended for her husband. The scene is in the cabin of the ship, with Love floating by on crimson wings and drawing a feathered arrow from his quiver. As the goblets filled by the lovers touch, the potion bursts into flame. At the sale of the Leathart pictures in 1896 this water-colour was acquired by Mr. M. Sears, of Boston. Rossetti offered to paint the subject in oil for Mr. Rae for 350 guineas.
King René's Honeymoon . Another subject from the story of the Sicilian king (or perhaps the same), done for a series of stained glass windows in Mr. Birket Foster's house. The drawing in ink, which I have not seen, belongs to Mr. A. S. Stevenson, and was exhibited at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1883.
The Annunciation . This is a design for a window, and is different again from any versions of the subject previously mentioned. The cartoon for it is in the possession of Mr. Watts-Dunton.
Joseph and Mary at the house of St. Elisabeth ; St. Margaret ; and An Angel swinging a censer . These are three other windows of which the cartoons are in Mr. Watts-Dunton's possession, and there may possibly be more.
Threshing . A design for a tile, presumably one of a series, the original sepia sketch for which was acquired by Colonel Gillum at Rossetti's sale.
The remainder of Rossetti's work in applied art, unless other unrecorded examples exist, comprise a memorial window in Christ Church, Albany Street, representing the Sermon on the Mount , erected in 1869 to the memory of Rossetti's aunt, Miss Polidori, who died in 1867; and a bright little water-colour drawing for a window representing Christ Crowned , with a regal globe in his hand, and above and below two pairs of winged angels. This was formerly in the possession of Mr. Trist, and now belongs to Mr. Murray. It may or may not be the same as a Christ in Glory (“sketch for stained glass”), sold to Mr. William Graham in 1873, but its date of course is much earlier than that. For convenience I have catalogued it under 1862.
Transcribed Footnote (page 115):

1 There is a letter from Mr. Frederick Shields to Rossetti referring to the water-colour in Mr. McConnel's possession, and saying: “I agree with you in regarding it as one of your finest”—or words to that effect.

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The Paolo and Francesca water-colour done for Mr. William Graham I have included under the date 1861, although no particular authority exists for this beyond the auctioneer's catalogue. In the catalogue of the Burlington Fine Arts Club it was given as 1854, which would ante-date by a year the original diptych painted for Mr. Ruskin and now in the possession of Mr. Rae ( see page 66). There is a possibility, borne out to some extent by internal evidence, that this may have been an early sketch not used at the time, but taken up later and finished off to sell. The paper on which it is painted has been added to on all four sides for the purpose of extending the composition. Traces of this patching are plainly visible in the reproduction, especially at the bottom and across the window. In its original form, therefore, the drawing would have included the pair of lovers and practically nothing else.
This beautiful and luminous little water-colour represents, as I have described already, the first compartment of the double subject. In the other half of the complete picture the souls of the lovers are shown floating for ever in a rain of flames. The story is too well known for repetition how Francesca, daughter of Guido di Polenta, lord of Ravenna, being married to Lanciotto, the son of Malatesta di Rimini, fell in love with her husband's brother Paolo, and how Lanciotto, detecting the intrigue, put the guilty pair to death. In the picture, Paolo in red and Francesca in green are seated before a window bearing the gryphon arms of Malatesta. A branch of red roses lies on the floor at their feet and a rose-bush is growing from a barrel on their right. A red lute hangs upon the wall to their left. Outside is a bright and sunny landscape. The lovers have stopped in the midst of their reading to give the fatal kiss that sealed their doom, but the approaching form of Lanciotto is not seen. On the frame is inscribed the following passage translated from the fifth Canto of the Inferno:

  • “One day
  • For our delight we read of Launcelot,
  • How him love thralled. Alone we were, and no
  • Suspicion near us. Oft times by that reading
  • Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue
  • Fled from our altered cheek. But at one point
  • Alone we fell. When of that smile we read,
  • The wicked smile so rapturously kiss'd
  • By one so deep in love, then he, who ne'er
  • From me shall separate, at once my lips
  • All trembling kiss'd.”
The present owner of the water-colour is Mr. W. R. Moss, of
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Paolo and Francesca da                         Rimini

Paolo and Francesca

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water color. Monogram lower left corner. Two seated lovers kissing. The book they have been reading drops from the man's knees as they kiss; beneath his feet the single red rose has blossomed into a flowering branch. 0n the left in a large barrel stands a rose bush; a scarlet psaltery hangs on the right wall; the window of bottle-glass lights, bearing the arms of the Malatesta family, is partly open revealing a landscape bathed in sunshine.Surtees, p. 39



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Bolton, Lancashire, by whose courtesy it has been engraved. It was exhibited at the Burlington Club in 1883, at the Manchester Jubilee Exhibition in 1887, at the Guildhall in 1896, and at the New Gallery in the winter of 1897-98.
A drawing of this period which has not been mentioned is one of the Crucifixion scene, with Mary weeping at the foot of the cross, and one of the disciples waving away a gathering flock of ravens. This was formerly in the possession of Mr. Alphonse Legros, and now belongs to Mr. Charles Ricketts.  

St. John Comforting the                         Virgin at the Foot of   the Cross

DESIGN FOR THE CRUCIFIXION—C. 1862.

Figure: Pen and ink and Indian ink, and sepia wash. The Virgin kneels at the foot of the Cross and is comforted by St. John; two women are approaching while a third is seen in the distance, driving off a flock of ravens.Surtees, p. 57



In 1861 or 1862 Rossetti designed two woodcuts for his sister Christina's “Goblin Market,” published by Messrs. Macmillan. These illustrated respectively the lines “Buy from us with a golden curl” ( frontispiece) and “Golden head by golden head,” the two girls lying asleep folded in each other's arms ( title-page). In 1865 he drew two more designs for “The Prince's Progress,” illustrating the lines “You should have wept her yesterday” —the story of the Prince setting out to seek his bride, who dallies so long on the way that when he arrives he finds her dead—and “ The long hours go and come and go ”. Numerous studies in pen-and-ink were made for these illustrations, especially for the last, which remains perhaps the most beautiful and successful of the four. Mr. Fairfax Murray has a number of these drawings, and may, for what I know, have all. The covers for these two little volumes of his sister's poems, [Cover-Goblin Market (1862)] [Cover-Goblin Market (1865)] [Cover-The Prince's Progress] as well as for his own when they appeared, [Cover-The Early Italian Poets (1861)] [Cover-Poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1870) 1] [Cover-Poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1870) 2] were designed by Rossetti, and are as original and effective and tasteful as his decorative work invariably was.  

Goblin Market

Figure: Woodcut. Monogram lower right corner; lower left corner reads: "MMF & Co". Inscription at bottom reads: "Buy from us with a golden curl." A woman kneels at left cutting off a lock of her long light-colored hair. At right several rodent-faced creatures hold out bowls of fruits to her. At top left, a woman with short dark hair holding a pitcher ascends a hill, looking back at the scene.



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Prince's Progress

Figure: Woodcut. Inscription at top: "THE PRINCE'S PROGRESS / AND OTHER POEMS / BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI" and at bottom: "MACMILLAN & CO. 1866." Inscribed just below the picture is "The long hours go and come and go." A woman leans toward an bottle-glass window with an open casement through which a fountain can be seen.



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CHAPTER VII

SETTLING AT CHELSEA. 1862 TO 1868
AFTER the tragic death of his wife, on February 11th, 1862, Rossetti could no longer bear to occupy the rooms they had inhabited at Chatham Place, and began to seek for others.  

Dante Gabriel Rossetti in                         1862

PORTRAIT BY DOWNEY, 1862.

Swantype

Figure: Photogravure reproduction of photograph of DGR by Downey. Nearly full-length of DGR in overcoat, turned slightly to right. Left hand rests on ornately carved table, right hand upon hip.



In the meantime he took lodgings for a few months in a house in Lincoln's Inn Fields. He had a fancy for getting away from the crowd of London, and yet for being near the river, which caused him to examine one or two old houses in the then by no means fashionable neighbourhoods of Hammersmith and Chelsea. He came near taking one in the further suburb which afterwards served for William Morris's home in London, and from which was founded the Kelmscott Press, but finally decided in favour of No. 16, Cheyne Walk, a house which from some traditional association with Queen Elizabeth became known as Tudor House and is now called Queen's House. It is also said to have been described by Thackeray in “Esmond” as the home of the old Countess of Chelsey. At first he thought of inviting his family to live with him, but circumstances rendered this undesirable, and he started instead a joint ménage with
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Mr. Algernon Swinburne, Mr. George Meredith, and (at casual intervals) his brother. Mr. Meredith's subtenancy was not of long duration; in point of fact he never really occupied his rooms. But Mr. Swinburne remained long enough to have shared very considerably the traditions which soon grew up round Tudor House, and whilst there wrote the most famous of his dramas, “Atalanta in Calydon,” as well as many of the “Poems and Ballads,” and a portion of “Chastelard.” The gloom which at first had threatened Rossetti gradually wore away before the robustness of his nature; settling into and furnishing his house on new, and at that time practically unheard-of  

No. 16, Cheyne Walk

NO. 16, CHEYNE WALK.

Figure: Etching of the exterior of the house facing the walk. A figure stands beside the closed iron gates.



principles, afforded abundant distraction; and for some years, until his own illness intervened, Rossetti played the genial and charming host to many old friends of his intimate group, and to an increasing circle of new ones who were attracted by sympathy or by the growing glamour of his name. Madox Brown he saw as much as ever, and whenever he was in trouble or need; Morris less, and in course of time very little. W. Bell Scott had come up to town from Newcastle, and became a constant visitor. The Greek community in London, which is as renowned for the beauty and culture of its women as for the prosperity of its men, furnished him not only with patrons, but also with congenial friends, and with one very lovely sitter who appears in some of his later canvases. Besides these were his constant patrons William Graham, George Rae, and Frederick Leyland, with whom he was on friendly terms; J. P. Seddon, a faithful member of his early circle; Philip Bourke Marston, the poet; Michael Halliday, the painter, and others.
I have alluded just above to the furnishing of Tudor House, but the subject deserves more than a passing reference. Rossetti, in spite of his entire indifference to the outside public, had a wonderful way of infecting it with his own predilections and taste. We have seen the part he took in popularizing the Arthurian legend
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Sig. R
and the various romances of chivalry. In the same way he championed to very good purpose the almost forgotten cause of Keats. His discovery of Fitzgerald's translation of Omar in a bookseller's box started the world-wide appreciation of those wonderful quatrains. Blake, Coleridge, and other less celebrated worthies owed to his fine discrimination much of their revival in the public taste. He had borne a leading share in the Morris decorative movement; and now he was destined to pave the way for the modern craze for old oak furniture and blue china.Bric-à-brac was not of much account in England when Rossetti first began rummaging the  

The Garden, No. 16, Cheyne                         Walk

THE GARDEN, NO. 16, CHEYNE WALK.

Figure: A photograph of the garden of Rossetti's house showing a marble statue from behind at right and the house in the distance.



dealers' shops for old and battered cabinets, Chippendale chairs, carved oak panels, “hawthorn” jars (the name was his invention), and an infinite variety of brass implements, chandeliers, sconces, mirrors, and vases of antique and comparatively neglected types. As regards blue china he found a rival in Mr. Whistler, whose acquisitions with his own soon began to send the prices flying up; but it was a purely original idea in those days to buy up old furniture for use, and to enrich the walls of a house with panelled carvings and treasures from Japan. Those who follow the fashion to-day do it in many cases vulgarly and unintelligently, turning their houses into museums of costly and incongruous objects. So far as decora-
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tion went Rossetti knew to a hairbreadth what would harmonize and what would not, and however wide the range of his purchases might be he was never guilty of errors of taste. In such matters, it is generally conceded, his judgment was a touchstone.
One of the main charms of the house at Chelsea was its long garden, more than an acre in extent, with an avenue of trees on to which the studio looked. As time went on this garden became tenanted with a miscellaneous assortment of birds and animals, round which a veritable saga of anecdote has gathered. I purpose in a miscellaneous chapter at the end to give a short account of these animals, which formed a prominent feature in Rossetti's life at Cheyne Walk, and which, with his affection forbric-à-brac, his spontaneous generosity, his ever-ready wit, his love of good stories, and his endless flow of vers d'esprit, form a pleasant contrast to the somewhat sombre atmosphere in which he sought his inspirations, and in which, owing to the seclusion of his later years, he was popularly supposed to live. As insomnia, with added physical troubles, attacked him, he suffered from melancholy, and the remedy recommended to him proved almost worse than the disease; but at the commencement of his life in Chelsea Rossetti was a remarkably cheery unaffected human being, free from vanity, full of good nature; and it cannot be regarded otherwise than as a misfortune that most of the personal and intimate literature published about him has come through the channels of men who only knew him late in life, and whose impressions of him in the days when he had better health and less fame were consequently vitiated.
For convenience of division I do not propose in this chapter to take Rossetti's work beyond the year 1868, when his health first showed signs of breaking down, and when, in order to escape from the oppression of sleeplessness, and to rest his eyes, which began to give serious trouble, he went on a visit to Penkill Castle in Ayrshire, the residence of Miss Alice Boyd. Here he was tended and cared for with unsurpassable kindness, and enjoyed the company of his old friend William Bell Scott, who was still blind to the manifold vices of character which he afterwards detected and published. Of incidents during the six years there were not many that concern my purpose. In 1862 and 1863 a couple of short trips were made to Belgium and Paris, but without particular results upon Rossetti's work. Late in 1862 a visit was paid to Bell Scott in Newcastle, the interesting feature of which is the well-known portrait by Downey which was taken upon that occasion, and which is reproduced at the begin-
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ning of this chapter. During the same two years Rossetti was engaged in finishing for press the “Life of Blake,” begun by his friend, Alexander Gilchrist, who had died very tragically in 1861. About 1865 he joined, and even used to frequent, the Garrick Club, a plunge into public life which he capped by a letter to the “ Athenæum” in this year, protesting against its being stated that he was a water-colour painter who only occasionally used oils, and asserting that having first begun as an oil-painter he had “now, for a good many years past,” reverted to oil for all his principal works. I only know of one other instance of this obtrusion of his name in public print to correct a misstatement, and that was when he wrote a dignified letter protesting against some scurrilous paragraph to the effect that he had given a “not at home” message when the Princess Louise had called upon him. The article in the “ Athenæum” entitled “ The Stealthy School of Criticism” hardly belongs to that category, being a necessary rejoinder to a slanderous public attack.
Among the first signs of increasing popularity when Rossetti settled down at Chelsea was the employment of an assistant, Mr. W. J. Knewstub, who helped to trace subjects on to canvas, and doubtless was materially useful besides in the production of duplicates of the pictures. Mr. Knewstub was himself a painter, and shortly afterwards, preferring to be independent, made way for a successor, Mr. Henry Treffry Dunn, recently (I am informed) deceased, whose knowledge of Rossetti's methods, as well as of the way in which, towards the end of his life, replicas were turned out in rather questionable profusion, must have been encyclopædic and peculiar. The only other person whose advent into Rossetti's life need be chronicled here was Charles Augustus Howell, an Anglo-Portugese of fascinating exterior and the most plausible manners, who had been of some service first about 1857, and who returned to England in 1864, when he captivated everybody and became private secretary to Mr. Ruskin. In 1870 this relationship terminated rather abruptly, but before that time, and after it as well until a breach came, Howell acted as agent for the sale of Rossetti's pictures. A gentleman named Parsons was for a while in partnership with him, but resigned on account of some difficulty with Rossetti about the sale of certain works. Howell was undoubtedly a salesman of most exceptional gifts, and his resourcefulness in invention was past praise; but I do not know that in the long run his connection with Rossetti did the latter much good, and I have noticed among those who had dealings with him a reluctance to embark upon his sterling
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business qualities. Amongst other features of his activity at one period was the circulation of a number of spurious Rossetti drawings, which he either did himself or got done. It has been stated that his skill as a copyist commanded admiration from no less an authority than Ruskin. Howell figures in Mr. Watts-Dunton's novel, “Aylwin,” under the thin disguise of the Anglo-Portugese Da Costa—Rossetti himself being a leading and easily recognized character in the book. There is a crayon portrait of him by Rossetti, dated 1865, which gives a good notion of his foreign, sallow, and by no means unintellectual features. He was a fine judge of art, and but for the misfortune of his quarrelling with some of the inner circle, which led him into straits and eventually into malpractices, he might have kept up a good position. His house was full of beautiful furniture and valuable drawings, most of which he disposed of so secretly that they are now hard to find.

I may here resume the thread of Rossetti's work, dropped at the point where his wife's death broke it and rendered him for a short time incapable of settled application. One of the last things he executed prior to that bereavement, and certainly the last thing for which his wife sat to him, was a water-colour of St. George and the Princess Sabra , different from all his other versions of St. George, in which the kneeling Princess is holding up a helmet as a basin for her hero to wash his blood-stained hands. The knight, still solemn from his encounter, looks towards the window where a procession is bearing past the dragon's head in triumph. This picture belongs to Mr. Heaton, and a replica of it was painted some six years later for Mr. Craven, of Manchester.
The first things done after he recovered from the momentary shock were a crayon portrait of his mother, dated February, 1862, the one that is reproduced on the second page of Chapter I., and an oil picture of a dark gipsy-looking girl leaning out from a lattice-window. This Girl at a Lattice , which has generally been wrongly described as a water-colour, shows some falling off from his usual standard of work, but it is rich in tone and colour. It is said that the subject was a real one, which caught his fancy and impelled him to begin painting again. At any rate, the choice of model is an exceptional one for Rossetti, though in the accessories, a coral necklace and a blue and white jug and saucer with wall-flowers on the window sill, he has followed the method common with him at this period.
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Two other subjects dated 1862, an oil painting of Joan of Arc for Mr. Anderson Rose, and a replica, much improved, of his early Paolo and Francesca diptych, for Mr. Leathart, call for passing notice. The first represents on a square-shaped canvas a half-length figure of Joan with head thrown back kissing the sword of deliverance. A somewhat hard and masculine type was selected for the model—Mr. Rossetti says a German, named Mrs. Beyer. The original purchaser did not keep the picture very long, yet the subject  

Joan of Arc

JOAN OF ARC.

Figure: Oil. Joan, kissing the sword of deliverance, kneels before a crucifix; on the altar lies a white lily.Surtees, p. 91



proved popular, if one may judge by the number of replicas commissioned, which included one for Miss Heaton (a water-colour), one for Lady Ashburton , and one very much later for Mr. L. R. Valpy . These varied a little, the figure in some cases facing to the right and in others to the left. In connection with the third of these I note for the first time a phrase which later on becomes curiously frequent in Rossetti's letters when offering replicas to likely customers. Speaking of Joan of Arc , in order to tempt Mr. Valpy, he says: “Neither in expression, colour, nor design, did I ever do a better thing.” I have no recollection of the Valpy picture (which
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was exhibited in 1883) nor have I seen Lady Ashburton's copy from which it was done; but I have seen another which is contemporaneous with the latter, and it is difficult to believe that the above is not a slight exaggeration of its merits.
The Leathart version of Paolo and Francesca is similar in composition to the 1855 one (Ruskin—Rae), but is larger and more developed. It is reproduced here from a photograph specially taken, and those who wish to compare differences between the two  

Beata Beatrix

SKETCH FOR BEATA BEATRIX.

Figure: Pencil. Study taken from Elizabeth Siddal; seated, turned to the right; the eyes are looking up and the hands lie palm upwards in her lap.Surtees, p. 94



versions will find the other reproduced in Mr. Stephens's “ Portfolio” monograph. Some account of the subject will be found at the end of Chapter VIII., whilst the replicas are dealt with on page 66 .
The well-known picture of Beata Beatrix , formerly owned by Lord Mount Temple and now in the National Collection by Lady Mount Temple's bequest, bears date 1863, but was only partially painted in that year, the completion being long delayed. One reason for the difficulty may have been that Rossetti desired to make this picture a living memorial of his wife, and that no regular studies of the face had been done for it. It is possible that he may have used
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Beata Beatrix

Beata Beatrix

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. At center Beatrice sits, her head leaned back and eyes closed as if in a trance, her hands resting on her knees. In the background the figures of Love and Dante gaze at each other; Dante stands beside a well, Love in vermillion holds a burning heart; the Ponte Vecchio stretches across the river Arno and the Duomo stands silhouetted against the sky.Surtees, p. 94



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studies done for Delia (in The Return of Tibullus ), of which several existed, with the head poised nearly in the proper attitude. There were early pencil sketches intended for the picture, as for instance the one reproduced here from Mr. J. P. Heseltine's collection. Mr. W. M. Rossetti moreover mentions having had in his possession a small nude study for the figure and the head.
Those who judge Rossetti as deficient or shallow in real feeling exhibit a gross blindness to the generosity of his nature, and do him a special injustice in regard to the execution of this picture, the haunting melancholy of which is a faithful reflection of the spirit in which he set himself to commemorate his dead wife's features. For an artist or literary man to trail his private griefs in public, is, in nine cases out of ten, a sign of innate vulgarity. There is no trace of such vulgarity here. The noble choice of subject, the still nobler execution, place it beyond the reach of any such suggestion, and render the picture in effect, as well as in its inspiration, unique amongst the pictures of the world. That the subject cost him pain in the doing the most cynical could not fail to see; that, being done, it is almost more beautifully done than any other picture he painted is a judgment which many would endorse without question. Technically there may be others far better. Technique in any case is not the standard by which to estimate a painter who puts pure poetry on to his canvas. Rossetti has done work with the brush capable of satisfying any purist in technique, just as he has done work that is absolutely flawless in drawing; but technique and drawing were not his strongest points, and though he himself frequently regretted the loss of early training which would have given him what he lacked, he was master of gifts which are rarer and more precious than drawing or technique. Into the Beata Beatrix he has put the very best of himself: imagination, feeling, colour, beauty, and perfect harmony. Not a flaw, not an ugly touch mars the repose of that upturned face in trance, the purest of all the images that have made his wife immortal.
Rossetti's descriptions of his own pictures are not always so poetical as the pictures themselves, being generally written to people who might be expected to miss the subtle meanings he put into them. It is more interesting, however, to have them than any description by an alien hand, and so I quote the passage in a letter describing the Beata Beatrix , which has often been wrongly named The Dead or the Dying Beatrice—a title more fitly to be applied to Dante's Dream :
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“The picture illustrates the Vita Nuova , embodying symbolically the death of Beatrice as treated in that work. The picture is not intended at all to represent death, but to render it under the semblance of a trance, in which Beatrice, seated at a balcony overlooking the city, is suddenly rapt from earth to heaven.

“You will remember how Dante dwells on the desolation of the city in connection with the incident of her death, and for this reason I have introduced it as my background, and made the figures of Dante and Love passing through the street and gazing ominously on one another, conscious of the event; while the bird, a messenger of death, drops the poppy between the hands of Beatrice. She, through her shut lids, is conscious of a new world, as expressed in the last words of the Vita Nuova—That blessed Beatrice who now gazeth continually on His countenance qui est per omnia sæcula benedictus.

The picture is so familiar that it is probably unnecessary to say much about the colouring, which is soft and mysterious as befits the subject. The figure of Beatrice, with a misty aureole playing about her golden auburn hair, is robed above in the purest green, with faint purple sleeves and a fainter purple below. A crimson dove bears the grey death poppy in its bill, and in the distance watching her are dimly seen Dante and the crimson figure of Love. A dial marks the fateful hour which was to bear her, on that 9th of June, 1290, “to be glorious under the banner of the blessed Queen Mary.” On the frame, designed by Rossetti himself, as was usually the case with his later and more important pictures, are the first words of that quotation from Jeremiah which Dante uttered when Beatrice's death had “despoiled the city,” as he said, “of all dignity”: Quomodo sedet sola civitas.“How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people; how is she become as a widow, that was great among the nations!”
What Rossetti felt and thought about this picture himself we may gather from the fact that for some years he refused to send out a replica of it, even when replicas had become a regular and lucrative form of business to the detriment of his better art. At last he was prevailed on to let Mr. William Graham have one in return for a special obligation, the copy being a crayon drawing dated 1869, now in the possession of Mr. Robert Harrison, of Shiplake Court, Henley-on-Thames. Later on, in 1872, he consented to paint it in oil, also for Mr. Graham, adding, for the sake of distinction, a predella, representing below the main subject the meeting of Dante and Beatrice in Paradise, with maidens bearing instruments of music. 1 White doves hover round, and underneath is the date “Mort: Die 31. Anno 1300”, with the inscription “Veni, Sponsa,
Transcribed Footnote (page 128):

1 The pencil study for this, presented to George Gordon Hake in 1872, and inscribed “Guardami ben; ben son, ben son Beatrice,” is reproduced on the opposite page by permission of its present owner, Mr. Russell Rea.

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Sig. S
de Libano.” This version of the picture was bought at the great Graham sale by Messrs. Agnew, and, after remaining with them for some time, was transferred to a purchaser in Chicago. Once the reserve was broken, Rossetti painted other replicas as well, none of them at all equal in quality to the original. A small water-colour was done for Mr. Craven while the Graham picture was in progress, and was finished in 1871. This, with the two already mentioned (making three versions in all), was exhibited at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1883, whilst at the Academy in the same year was the Mount Temple picture, with a crayon replica of 1872 done for Mr. Valpy. There was a third copy in oil done for Mr. Valpy in 1880, as part of the artist's debt for Dante's Dream (of which particulars will be given later). This was put in with Rossetti's own effects at the sale in 1883, and was acquired by  

Beata Beatrix

STUDY FOR PREDELLA: BEATA BEATRIX.

Figure: Pencil. Study for the predella. Dante, turned in profile to right, is kneeling on the ground, head down turned, and arms outstretched in welcome. Beatrice bends towards him lifting the veil from her face. In the right background young women sing and bear instruments of music.Surtees, p. 96



the Hon. Percy Wyndham. The picture possessed by the Corporation Art Gallery of Birmingham would have been a fourth, but it was left unfinished, the background and some other parts being painted after the artist's death by Mr. Madox Brown. It was acquired from the late Mrs. Lucy Rossetti, to whom her brother-in-law had given it, in 1891.
To 1863 belongs a small oil picture called Helen of Troy , a full-face study, head and shoulders only, of a rather pretty model, with masses of rippling yellow hair. Swinburne, in his “Essays and Studies,” has written a glowing description of this “Helen, with her Parian face and mouth of ardent blossom, framed in broad gold of widespread locks;” and in truth she is sumptuous enough, without, however, much claim to intellectual or imaginative beauty. Except that Rossetti has painted a burning town behind, and that the lady is fingering a crystal locket in which is a flaming torch,
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there is little to suggest that “daughter of the gods divinely tall and most divinely fair” for whom the towers of Ilium were sacked. Mr. Blackmore, of Liverpool, was the original purchaser of this picture, the later history of which is not quite clear. It is probably in America or Germany. Rossetti at a later date had some thought of doing a picture to illustrate his ballad of “Troy Town”, which must not be confused with this, the subject being Helen's dedication to Aphrodite of the goblet modelled on her shapely breast. This will be illustrated under 1870.  

Helen of Troy

HELEN OF TROY.

Figure: Oil. Monogram lower left corner. Head and shoulders of a woman with long wavy hair, her hands clasping a pendant around her neck.



The last of the St. George subjects belongs to the year we are dealing with, and represents St. George in the act of slaying the dragon; a water-colour version of one of the incidents in the window series, but treated a little differently. The Princess, naked to the waist, is bound to a tree in the background, while the knight is engaged in trussing the monster, not a very formidable specimen in regard to size. This drawing was acquired at some country sale by the late Mr. Virtue Tebbs.
Next come three small subjects: Belcolore , a very finely painted head of a girl biting a rosebud, in a circular frame, formerly in the
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Boyce collection, of which a red chalk study exists, as well as a copy in water-colour; Brimfull , a water-colour sketch of a lady stooping to sip from a full glass—Rossetti explained in a letter to Mr. Mitchell, the purchaser, that this was a study from something he had seen, and that the lady's companion, a gentleman, was not shown, but was reflected in a mirror behind; the third is a picture called simply A Lady in Yellow , belonging to Mr. Beresford Heaton. It is a half-length figure, sitting with folded hands, done from a favourite model, and very effective as a study in one colour, the background, the hair, and the lady's dress being all in subtly varied tones of yellow.
We are now entering upon the period when Rossetti ceased to paint small heads and began to devote himself to larger single figure subjects, lavishing upon them indeed all the wealth of his fine imagination, and surrounding them with quaint and beautiful accessories in the way of stamped leather or tapestry backgrounds, richly embroidered robes, inlaid pieces of furniture, jewels, vases, ornaments and flowers such as he alone knew how to select and paint. Many of these accessories, picked up during his rambles among the curiosity shops, figure over and over again in different pictures, the commonest of them all—so common that it almost amounts to a signature—being a spiral shell of pearls, worn at the side of the hair by his luxurious and languishing types of beauty. I have not made a list of pictures in which this pretty jewel figures, but I can name off hand amongst them—none being earlier than about the year we are dealing with— The Christmas Carol , Monna Vanna , The Beloved , Lucretia Borgia , Joli Cœur , Mariana , The Bower Meadow , and the painted cartoon of the Princess Choosing the Lot , from the St. George and the Dragon series. It was varied with other ornaments, a rosette and a pendant of pearls, large single jewels, and gold and silver clasps, most of which are recognizable more than once. A similarly persistent object is the globular brass ewer surmounted by a little figurine which occurs in Lucretia Borgia and in La Bella Mano . Of the other accessories which Rossetti used, the gold, amber, bead and coral necklaces, oriental stuffs, brass sconces and candlesticks, porcelain vases, ebony and ivory mirrors, jade toilet articles, and musical instruments such as would delight the antiquarian heart of Mr. Dolmetsch, a very select and not inconsiderable exhibition might be made. One of the most striking objects in it, never so far as I am aware repeated, would be the brilliant scarlet side ornaments which the bride, in the picture
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of The Beloved , wears on her head to clasp her veil, and which were made, I understand, of red Peruvian feather-work.
The first picture of the type just mentioned, and in point of execution one of the very finest, is Fazio's Mistress , a small oil painting belonging to Mr. Rae, dated 1863, but considerably altered and repainted ten years later, when Rossetti re-named it Aurelia . The owner, however, prefers to retain the former name. This is a half-length portrait of Mrs. Schott (Fanny Cornforth) seated in an embossed velvet chair plaiting her hair before a carved ebony mirror. A jade brush and a curious double comb lie on the table beside her. The gorgeous wealth of hair, ruby lips, and sumptuousness of figure make up a picture of ideal but not very soulful beauty. The flesh-painting of the face, which was left unaltered in 1873, when much of the “bric-à-brac” was added, is as fine as anything Rossetti ever did of the kind, only surpassed perhaps by his earlier handling in Old-Master style of the Bocca Baciata .
The year 1864, which is one of the richest in production, contains two or three more prominent examples of Rossetti's attraction towards a luxuriant and seductive type of feminine beauty. First comes a picture, formerly in the collection of the late Mr. John Bibby, of St. Asaph, described in his sale catalogue as A Lady in white dress combing her hair , the setting and surroundings of which are not unlike those of Fazio's Mistress , though the picture is less pleasing as a work of art. The same model, with the same red gold hair, is holding an oval mirror, while with the free hand she combs out her long and magnificent tresses. The red note is struck by a cord and tassel round her neck. On the table by her is a small blue and white jar and some toilet ornaments. A patterned green curtain forms the background. This picture is intermediate in style and in date between the one last mentioned and Lady Lilith , which embodies perhaps the fullest expression of Rossetti's power in the direction already referred to. Lilith is a modernized conception of that wife whom Adam had before Eve, in the Talmudic legend, and by whom “he begat nothing but diuils.” She is the incarnation of the world and the flesh, with all sorts of latent suggestions of the third element. A beautiful woman, splendidly and voluptuously formed, is leaning back on a couch combing her long fair hair, while with cold dispassionateness she surveys her features in a hand mirror. She is not only the Lilith of Adam, the Lilith who in “Eden Bower” makes that weird compact with the serpent, but the Lilith of all time; lovely but loveless,
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Lady Lilith

LADY LILITH

Figure: Oil. Woman in a long flowing gown, sitting in a chair facing left, combing her hair with her right hand and looking into a mirror with her left. Behind her at top right is a bouquet of flowers, and at top left is a candelabra on a stand beside a window. This is a reproduction from a photograph of the painting as it appeared prior to its retouching in 1872-3. Fanny Cornforth is the model.



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amorous and deadly. She herself was a serpent first, and knows the gift of fascination. Bowered in roses, robed in white flowing draperies that slip and reveal the swelling contour of her bust and shoulders, no painter has ever idealized like this the elemental power of carnal loveliness. “Body's Beauty” Rossetti called the picture afterwards, contrasting it with his conception of “Soul's Beauty,” the Sibylla Palmifera of 1866-70. At the same time he described the two in a pair of sonnets, which were embodied  

Lady Lilith

LILITH. AFTER THE RETOUCHING.

Figure: Oil. Head and shoulders of a woman combing her hair with her right hand and looking into a mirror with her left. Behind her at top right is a bouquet of flowers. This is a reproduction of the painting as it appeared after its retouching in 1872-3, when the face of Alexa Wilding was painted over that of Fanny Cornforth's.



in “ The House of Life” as Nos. LXXVII. and LXXVIII. This is the sonnet called “Body's Beauty”:



  • “Of Adam's first wife, Lilith, it is told
  • (The witch he loved before the gift of Eve)
  • That, ere the snake's, her sweet tongue could deceive,
  • And her enchanted hair was the first gold.
  • And still she sits, young while the earth is old,
  • And subtly of herself contemplative,
  • Draws men to watch the bright web she can weave,
  • Till heart and body and life are in its hold.
  • The rose and poppy are her flowers; for where
  • Is he not found, O Lilith, whom shed scent
  • And soft-shed kisses 1 and soft sleep shall snare?
  • Lo! as that youth's eyes burned at thine, so went
  • Thy spell through him, and left his straight neck bent,
  • And round his heart one strangling golden hair.”

Transcribed Footnote (page 133):

1 In the earliest version, inscribed on the picture, Rossetti wrote “fingers,” which he afterwards altered to “kisses.”

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Lilith , though dated 1864, was not finished completely until 1866 or 1867. It was commissioned by Mr. F. R. Leyland, who, unwisely as the event turned out, let Rossetti have it back in 1873, after one of his illnesses, when he became seized with a sort of mania for altering his work. The face, which had first been painted from Mrs. Schott, was entirely redrawn from a different model, and with anything but satisfactory results, although he himself was not displeased with the work which had been done upon it. A negative fortunately exists of the picture in its former state, and though not a particularly good one, it serves at least to show what the painting originally was. It is this which I have reproduced, and in the text, for comparison merely, I have given the repainted head. The picture, since the sale of Mr. Leyland's collection, has passed into the hands of a gentleman who has already been mentioned as the owner of Found (and other Rossettis), Mr. Samuel Bancroft, junior, of Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A. Certain replicas exist, amongst which may be specified a small water-colour (1867) belonging to Mr. Coltart, of Liverpool, a water-colour (1867) belonging to Mr. A. S. Stevenson, of Tynemouth, a black and red crayon (described as a “finished study”) formerly in the possession of Mr. Trist, and a chalk head and bust in Mr. Ellis's possession, belonging to about the same period.
Still in the same vein—of “Women and Flowers”—is the next great picture begun in 1864, the Venus Verticordia . The principal version of this, an oil painting, was commissioned by Mr. Mitchell, but was not finished until some time in 1868. The earliest, therefore, in point of date is the little water-colour commissioned by Mr. Rae as a replica, which was delivered during the year. The picture represents a tall, massively-built woman—no spiritual goddess of beauty—undraped and standing in a bower of clustering honeysuckle which hides her to the waist. Above she is bowered in roses—such a glorious wealth of flowers as compelled even Ruskin's admiration, while disliking the picture itself, the painting, and everything else connected with it. In her left hand she holds the apple, the prize of her beauty; in her right a dart, upon which is poised for an instant a delicate sulphur butterfly. Others are hovering round like moths at a candle, symbolical of the lovers who adore for one day the power of Love which remains eternal. Behind is the grove of Venus, and a blue bird winging its way through space. As a nudity the picture would not now be considered at all remarkable, but at the date it was painted Rossetti evidently feared, and had reason to fear, hostile criticism on this account. In writing to Mr. Rae about the little
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Venus Verticordia

Venus Verticordia

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water colour. Head and upper torso of a nude woman standing in a flower patch, holding an arrow in her right hand and an apple in her left. Her hair is worn in a fringe on the forehead, and a butterfly perches on the apple.



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water-colour, which at all events is as chaste as anything could be, and many degrees more pleasing than the full-sized version, he said: “I really do not think the large picture chargeable with anything like Ettyism, which I detest; but I am sure the little one has not a shadow of it. Drapery of any kind I could not introduce without quite killing my own idea.” Whether, if Rossetti had lived later, he would have availed himself more of the freedom accorded to painters we cannot, of course, say. With his intense and passionate love of feminine beauty, and a sensual southern strain in his blood besides, it seems rather remarkable how chary he was of painting the nude form. I only know of one entire nude figure (besides, of course, studies) amongst all his works, and that is the crayon called Spirit of the Rainbow belonging to Mr. Watts-Dunton, which is reproduced in this book for the first time. Mr. Watts-Dunton has also a half-length nude, done from the same model, a companion drawing in fact. There are two reasons which might, perhaps, be assigned for this artistic reticence, besides the possible one that Rossetti himself disliked in pictures anything chargeable, as he says, with “Ettyism,” and these are, first, that he felt his command of technique to be not quite adequate for such work, and, secondly, that his clients were prudish. One of them, at least, we know to have been so. Mr. L. R. Valpy was so particular that he hardly liked even a bare arm to be shown in the pictures he bought to hang on his walls. One need not be a prude to feel that Venus Verticordia is not among Rossetti's greatest works; nor, if one were, would it be possible to grudge admiration of the marvellous skill and the wonderful eye for colour which designed the floral surroundings. In the procuring of blossoms for his purpose he spared neither trouble, money, nor friends, but commissioned them carte blanche from all sources with a sort of Neronian magnificence.
The following sonnet was written for Venus Verticordia , and published in the “ Poems,” with alterations which do not seem in all cases to improve it, though in general Rossetti's emendations of his poems are as successful as his pictorial ones are apt to be the reverse:



  • “She hath it in her hand to give to thee,
  • And yet within her heart would hold it back;
  • She muses with her eyes upon the track
  • Of some dazed moth or honey-seeking bee.
  • ‘Haply he is as one of these,’ saith she;
  • ‘Alas! the apple for his lips,—the dart
  • That follows its brief sweetness to his heart,
  • The wandering of his feet perpetually!’
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  • A little space her glance is still and coy;
  • But if she gives the fruit that works her spell,
  • Those eyes shall flame as for her Phrygian boy.
  • Then shall her bird's strained throat the woe foretell,
  • And her far seas moan as a single shell,
  • And through her dark grove strike the light of Troy.”
Mr. Rae's water-colour of Venus Verticordia is the one I have chosen, with his kind permission, to reproduce here, although it has appeared once before in Mr. Stephens's monograph in the “Portfolio” series. The Mitchell picture seems to have passed into the possession of Mr. John Graham, the uncle of Mr. William Graham, who also had a fairly large collection, and to have been sold after his death in 1887. Previously to that it had undergone the fate of so many of Rossetti's oil pictures in being badly overpainted at a date subsequent to its completion. I have not ascertained who owns it now. Of other versions known to exist I can mention a finished crayon study dated 1863, a year before the picture, which used to belong to Mr. William Graham; a crayon replica of 1867 done for Mr. Leyland, and bought after his death by Mr. Bibby, at whose sale it figured in 1899; lastly, a water-colour replica (usually described as an oil) done for Mr. William Graham in 1868, and now in the possession of Lady Muir-Mackenzie.
The remaining productions of 1864 are all in water-colour. They include Morning Music , an elaborate little picture of a lady having her hair dressed while a lover plays to her on his lute, wrongly attributed as a rule to a very much earlier date; Monna Pomona , a seated figure of a girl holding an apple, with roses in her lap and in a basket beside her, formerly in the possession of Mr. Alexander Ionides; the little romantic picture of How Sir Galahad, Sir Bors, and Sir Percival received the Holy Grail — belonging to Rossetti's earlier manner and already described on page 92; Roman de la Rose , also described, page 107; and The Madness of Ophelia , a scene representing Laertes leading Ophelia away, whilst the king and queen are looking on. Laertes is dressed in a red cloak and reddish leather boots, with a green-sheathed knife slung round his neck, exactly like the man in La Belle Dame sans Mercy (p. 69); Ophelia in blue and violet, with red underdress and a gold girdle, also recalls the female figure in the same group, which, as already mentioned, was probably intended at first for this Shakespearian scene. 1 The drawing fetched £216 at Mr. William Graham's sale,
Transcribed Footnote (page 136):

1 The figures of Laertes and Ophelia resemble those in the water-colour of La Belle Dame sans Mercy , even to the details of their clothing, etc.; but the latter is quite unlike the early sepia sketch of La Belle Dame sans Mercy , which I had not seen when the passage on page 69 was written. The sketch, I should say, was intended to illustrate the ballad (though it is even more suggestive of James Fitz-James and Blanche in “The Lady of the Lake”); but in the case of the water-colour the title must have been merely an afterthought.

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The First Madness of                         Ophelia

THE MADNESS OF OPHELIA

Figure: Water colour. Monogram and date lower left corner: "April 1864." At center Ophelia stands, garlanded, holding a plant in her left hand whose leaves drop to the floor. She is flanked by Laertes at left, who clutches her right hand, and the king and queen at right; all stare at her.



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Sig. T
and passed into the collection of Mr. Humphrey Roberts. It has since changed hands once more, and is now the property of Mrs. C. E. Lees, of Werneth Park, Oldham, who has kindly allowed it to be reproduced.
The next subject of this year, Socrates taught to dance by Aspasia , was an odd one for Rossetti to take up, except as a foil to his ordinary work; nor does he seem to have made more than a rough sketch of it, although the records say that a water-colour was commissioned by Mr. Heugh, and actually begun. This is probably the unfinished drawing belonging to Mr. W. M. Rossetti. Mr. Murray also has a rough pencil sketch. The last six items to be mentioned under 1864 are all replicas, and have been described before, namely, Lady Ashburton's version of the Saluto di Beatrice triptych; a left compartment of the same done for W. Graham, and sold some years since at Agnews', under the title of Beatrice in Paradise , to Dr. Lloyd Roberts, of Manchester (this is the subject usually known as Guardami ben; ben son, ben son Beatrice , from the inscription which Rossetti attached to it); the two versions in water-colour of How they met Themselves ( see page 39); and two versions also mentioned before of Joan of Arc, done respectively for Lady Ashburton and Miss Heaton.
The record of 1865, going by the dates on the works themselves, is not large, it being understood that some of the paintings grouped under 1863-4 were still in progress, and that several most important new ones were commissioned and begun. The most notable product of the year, from every point of view, was the Blue Bower , a picture of the Lilith group, done from the Lilith model, and representing in a setting of the most gorgeous blue and green harmonies a beautiful woman playing upon a dulcimer. Blue tiles are at her back, blue cornflowers by her side; blue turquoises in her hair and deep blue eyes are other notes in the scheme such as Rossetti loved to plan. And the lady herself is clad in a fur-lined robe of green, such green as that which the sea knows, and of which she shares the secret with a chosen few of the world's great colourists. 1
Transcribed Footnote (page 137):

1 In a note of about this date Rossetti makes the following interesting avowal of his colour preferences. “Thinking in what order I love colours, found the following: (1) Pure light warm green, (2) deep gold colour, (3) certain tints of grey, (4) shadowy or

page: 138
There can be no doubt that for sheer voluptuous beauty and grace of form the lady of the Blue Bower takes high rank amongst Rossetti's creations—“sensuous yet not sensual, sensuous with all the exquisite sensuousness of a creation by Titian or Giorgione,” yet redeemed from inanity as from coldness by the entrancing refinement of her music. The picture, which at one time belonged to Mr. Mendl, is now in the hands of the executors of the late Mr. Dyson Perrins, who bought it, and I believe that under his will there is some possibility of its eventually coming to the nation. The terms under which it is held do not, however, permit of my reproducing it here among Rossetti's other masterpieces, as I should like to have done. No replicas exist of the Blue Bower , but one or two studies for the head and bust , and a mixed pencil and crayon study for the full figure , belonged respectively to Mr. Wreford Paddow and the late Mr. Boyce, in whose names they have been exhibited.
In the midst of these large and sumptuous canvases, fetching big prices from wealthy customers, and leading ever more and more along the well-paved road of prosperousness and fame, it is pleasant to find that Rossetti could still turn back to the romantic style of his early water-colours, as we have already seen in the case of Sir Percival receiving the Sanc Grael , and produce one fit to rank among the very finest of his works of this class. The Merciless Lady , for permission to reproduce which for the first time I am indebted to Mr. Fairfax Murray, is a scene of three figures sitting on a turf-lined couch in a pavilion or arbour. In the centre is a man, cross-legged, his chin on his hand, gazing with rapt admiration at the blonde-haired damsel on his left who is singing to a lute. A vapid, reckless-looking maid she is, not to be compared to the dark beauty on his right, who with gloomy frown is trying to will back her lover. On the ground beside them her glass only stands untasted; she alone is sad. There is the little tragedy—barring one only the oldest I suppose in the world—set in a field of the brightest, sunniest green, all nature rejoicing round it. Much as I admire almost all Rossetti's water-colours, I know not one that clings in the mind like this, or that produces without effort, from a purely imaginary scene, so profound an impression of actuality.
Nor was this by any means Rossetti's only water-colour of 1865, though indisputably the best. For Mr. Craven he painted the subject called Washing Hands —with the exception of Dr. Johnson
Transcribed Footnote (page 138):

[ 1] steel blue, (5) brown, with crimson tinge, (6) scarlet. Other colours (comparatively) only lovable according to the relations in which they are placed.”

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The Merciless Lady

The Merciless Lady

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Water colour. Monogram and date lower right corner: "1865." Three figures out-of-doors on a red brick seat covered over the grass. The man in the centre gazes to the right at the fair-haired girl who is playing and singing with her head thrown back. On the left, a dark haired girl is trying to draw his attention to herself; beside her on the ground her glass of wine is untasted while the other two glasses are empty.Surtees, p. 102



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Washing Hands

WASHING HANDS

Figure: Water colour. Man and woman in eighteenth-century costume. The woman is turned to the left and is in the act of washing her hands while the man stands close beside her, talking urgently.Surtees, p. 103



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Il Ramoscello (Bella e                         Buona.)

IL RAMOSCELLO: FROM A WOOD CUT IN THE MAGAZINE OF ART

Figure: Woodcut. Upper torso of a young woman, head turned halfway to left, holding a twig in her right hand, which rests upon her left. Her hair is drawn back and bound in the back. Monogram and date in upper left corner: "1865." Inscription in upper right corner: "IL RAMOSCELLO," and in lower right corner: "M. Klintright."



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at the Mitre his one experiment in eighteenth century costume. The illustration and an extract from a letter of the painter's give all the information that is necessary about this:

“The drawing,” it says, “represents the last stage of an unlucky love affair. The lady has gone behind the screen (in the dining-room perhaps) to wash her hands; and the gentleman, her lover, has followed her there, and has still something to say, but she has made up her mind. We may suppose that others are present, and that this is his only chance of speaking. I mean it to represent that state of a courtship when both of the parties have come to see in reality that it will never do, but when the lady, I think, is generally the first to have the strength to act on such knowledge. It is all over, in my picture, and she is washing her hands of it.”

 

A Fight for a Woman

FIGHT FOR A WOMAN. STUDY.

Figure: Brush and Indian ink. Title inscribed in ink, lower left corner. Two men in a wood at twilight fighting for a woman who is cowering at the foot of a tree. The man on the left in doublet and hose has his opponent by the throat; the other holds a sword above his head, ready to strike.Surtees, p. 103



A Fight for a Woman , in Mr. Rae's possession, is one of Rossetti's most spirited and forcible drawings. It represents two men in doublets and hose, engaged in deadly conflict for a woman cowering near, the scene being a wood at dusk. In point of invention this design goes back to very early days indeed, as is proved by the existence of tentative sketches dating from about 1853. Mr. W. M. Rossetti indeed has rough pen drawings for the group of an even earlier, almost juvenile, date.
To the same year, 1865, belongs the oil painting called originally Bella e Buona , but renamed by Rossetti Il Ramoscello in 1873, when it was got back by him for retouching. The owner, Mr. Graham, seeing the altered picture in his studio, had the sense to disapprove of what had been done, and taking it away at once had the new work cleaned off. The altered title, however, remains, done in gold on the blue-green background. The figure is a half-length, dressed in slate green, and holding an acorn branch, as may be seen from the illustration, reproduced here from a woodcut in the “Magazine of Art.” It has often been stated that Il Ramoscello was painted from one of the Miss Grahams, but that is not the case.
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Following this is a series of replicas and small designs, most of which have been noticed. Mr. Clabburn's Mary Magdalene at the Door of Simon (oil); Lady Pembroke's version of the same (water-colour); Mr. Craven's Hesterna Rosa (water-colour); a pencil sketch, called Three sang of Love together , illustrating a poem by Christina Rossetti; the incomplete design for Aspecta Medusa (see pp. 109, 110); and two crayon drawings, called Circe and Diana , about which I know nothing beyond the names.
We now come to one of the most beautiful pictures, if not the most beautiful, that Rossetti ever painted— The Beloved . No one who has not seen it, with a warm sunlight bringing out its colour, can form the most remote conception of its brilliance. “I mean it to be like jewels,” wrote Rossetti to its owner, Mr. Rae; and jewel-like it flashes. The subject is the Bride of the Canticles (the picture has sometimes been called The Bride ) advancing to meet her lover. As the Song says: “She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework; the virgins that be her fellows shall bear her company.” In the centre is the bride, gloriously arrayed in such stuffs as only Rossetti could imagine, and with her are four dark-haired maidens, whose heads encircle and frame her. Before her, serving as a foil to the creamy loveliness of her own face, goes a little negro boy bedecked with a jewelled collar and headband, and bearing in his hands a golden vase of roses. The figures, though life-size, are only painted half-length, the most striking note of colour in the composition being the bride's gown, which is of rich and indescribable green, with flowing sleeves gorgeously embroidered in gold and red. As she nears her appointed spouse, the maiden draws aside her veil of pearly tissue, revealing a face which for pure, majestic loveliness is unsurpassed on canvas. The sitter was not one of Rossetti's ordinary models, nor does she resemble even remotely that type of dark and brooding beauty which is so frequent in Rossetti's later subjects. It is stated that a Miss Mackenzie, a model much sought after in the studios, lent her features for this particular picture, in which all intellectual attributes were to be subordinate to sheer perfection of form. Of the maidens who surround the central figure, and set off her beauty, one is of a dark Asiatic cast; a second is a handsome gipsy; a third, on the left, looks languorously and enviously towards the bridegroom, and the fourth is more than partially concealed. The outside pair carry stems of blossom which form rich clusters of colour in the upper corners, on the right a branch of scented japonica, on the left a tiger-lily. Brighter than
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The Beloved (The Bride.)

The Beloved

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. Monogram and date lower left corner: "1865-6." At center, a woman dressed in a gown decorated with a floral pattern pulls back her veil. Four women stand behind her holding branches and a young African girl stands in front of her holding a vase of roses.



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anything in the picture is the pair of gold and scarlet aigrettes, formed of Peruvian feather-work, like a splendid Egyptian head-dress, pinning the bride's veil at either side, and concentrating all attention on her matchless beauty.
“Excepting one or two later works of the master, where sentiment of a more exalted sort, as in the Proserpine , inspired the designs, The Beloved ,” says Mr. F. G. Stephens, “appears to me to be the finest production of his genius. Of his skill in the highest artistic sense, implying the vanquishment of prodigious difficulties— difficulties the greater because of his imperfect technical education— there cannot be two opinions as to the pre-eminence of Mr. Rae's magnificent possession. It indicates the consummation of Rossetti's powers in the highest order of modern art, and is in harmony with that poetic inspiration which is found in every one of his more ambitious pictures. . . . Rossetti's Beloved is in English art what Spenser's gorgeous and passionate Epithalamium is in English verse, and if not more rapturous is more compact of sumptuous elements.”
The Beloved was finished in 1866, but was painted upon again in 1873, this time happily without injurious effects. Amongst other changes which took place while the picture was in progress, Rossetti at one point substituted the little negro boy for his first conception of the foremost figure, a brown mulatto girl. [2nd sketch of girl] Numerous sketches exist of the models he obtained for this figure, [sketch 1] [sketch 2] [sketch 3] [sketch 4] the late Mr. Boyce having some which are now in Mr. Fairfax Murray's possession. After the change, but before the picture was completed (lacking still the vase of roses, the jewelled collar of the slave boy, the flowering stems and other details) Rossetti had the canvas photographed, and copies of this unfinished state have been published once or twice. These, however, by no means do justice to the picture, and I am very considerably indebted to Mr. Rae for his permission, never before accorded, to reproduce this masterpiece in its perfect entirety. No replica was ever painted of it, nor does even a crayon study exist, to my knowledge, beyond those of the negro boy mentioned, and one for the central figure.
In August, 1866, Rossetti wrote to his mother, “I have been working chiefly on the Toilette picture, and at the one with the gold sleeve, both of which I think you know.” The “Toilette picture” was Lilith , not finished until this year or the next. The “gold sleeve” one was the second of Mr. Rae's great treasures, called Monna Vanna , for permission to reproduce which I am equally be-
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holden. This “Lady of the Fan” is a sumptuous creature of the Lilith rather than the Beatrice type. Magnificently robed in white, with heavy gold embroidery, she leans at ease upon a couch, idly spreading a fan of black and yellow plumes, typical of all that is luxurious in life. When exhibited at Burlington House in 1883, the Monna Vanna was one of the pictures that most attracted and dazzled the public eye. I can myself, being then at school, remember the enthusiastic reports of certain schoolfellows as to this wonderful picture, with a crystal locket that showed the flesh beneath in rifts of pink and white, like nothing that ever was painted, which sent me in due course to the scene; and I can dimly recall the effect produced by the picture—and of course by the locket. When first completed Monna Vanna aroused some criticism, on account of the clashing hues of her jewelled rings, some of which Rossetti removed, when, at a later date, he had the picture back for his customary revision. On this occasion, as is shown by comparison with a photograph taken before the retouching, he altered and fortunately improved the face. When he had done this and lightened the mass of wavy hair which flowed around her shoulders, he proposed to change the name from Monna Vanna to Belcolore (which had already been used for an earlier head ), thinking that the former had a mediæval ring that was out of keeping with the subject. The proposed new name, however, failed to take effect.
This picture was not bought direct from the easel by Mr. Rae, but was transferred to him by Mr. Blackmore, its original purchaser. One replica, a crayon, seems to have been done from it for Mr. Theo. Allingham, but this I cannot verify.
A picture of even greater importance in some ways than the Monna Vanna —certainly, I should say, in Rossetti's own estimation —was Sibylla Palmifera , the third of Mr. Rae's fine trio of large oils. This was commissioned in 1865, begun in 1866, and not finally finished until the December of 1870. Rossetti (says his brother, in a note on the picture) had at first intended to paint for Mr. Rae a picture called The Queen of Beauty , which, however, he relinquished. He then designed the Palmifera , giving it this title, as he said, “to mark the leading place which I intend her to hold among my beauties.” He also refused to specify a time for delivery, having apparently had trouble about this in the case of The Beloved ; and added, “There is no knowing in such a lottery as painting, where all things have a chance against one—weather, stomach, temper, model, paint, patience, self-esteem, self-abhorrence, and the devil into the
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Monna Vanna                             (Belcolore.)

Monna Vanna

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. Upper torso of a seated woman wearing a billowing gown, her hands clasping the string of beads around her neck. She wears two seashell-shaped pins in her hair, and at upper right a vase of flowers sits on a shelf.



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Note: The title of The Daughter of Herodias appears integral in this electronic transcription, but in the original printed text it is printed partly on page 143 and partly on page 144.
bargain.” The picture underwent some extensions of idea, after it was begun, and it was then that the word Sibylla was added to the title. At the same time a fine sonnet was written for it, published in the 1870 volume of poems under the full title of the picture. Afterwards it occurred to Rossetti to make the latter stand for a spiritual counterpart to his Lady Lilith , and in adapting the two sonnets for inclusion in “The House of Life” he put them side by side with the respective titles of “Soul's Beauty” and “Body's Beauty”. The “Lilith” sonnet has already been quoted; the following is that done for Sibylla Palmifera :



  • “Under the arch of Life, where love and death,
  • Terror and mystery guard her shrine, I saw
  • Beauty enthroned; and tho' her gaze struck awe,
  • I drew it in as simply as my breath.
  • Hers are the eyes which, over and beneath,
  • The sea and sky bend on thee—which can draw,
  • By sea or sky or woman, to one law,
  • The allotted bondman of her palm and wreath.
  • This is that Lady Beauty, in whose praise
  • My voice and hand shake still,—long known to thee
  • By flying hair and fluttering hem,—the beat
  • Following her daily of thy heart and feet,
  • How passionately and irretrievably
  • In what fond flight, how many ways and days!”
The sonnet describes the picture partly—a Sibyl bearing a branch of palm, and seated on a throne beneath a stone canopy overlooking a temple court. Above her is carved on one side a blinded cupid, wreathed with roses; on the other a skull, crowned with red poppies. She herself is robed in crimson, with chestnut brown hair drawn away from her forehead, and a dark green coif trailing from her head over her left shoulder. A burning censer, a flaming lamp, and two butterflies hovering near are all accessories in the picture, which so far as the face is concerned differs from most other Rossettis, even those done from the same model, Miss Wilding. The artist proposed to paint a full-sized replica, at one time, but never carried this out. A study in tinted crayons and a black chalk drawing exist of it, according to Mr. William Sharp's book.
Two small paintings and a crayon were produced for Mr. J. Hamilton Trist, or bought by him, in 1866. These are the head of Miss Wilding called Regina Cordium , 1 already referred to; a nearly circular head of a Dancing Girl , sometimes called The Daughter of Herodias ,
Transcribed Footnote (page 143):

1 This is described on page 108 as a replica of Bocca Baciata . Since the passage was printed I have ascertained that it was a replica of the head of Sibylla Palmifera .

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reproduced here, and the design for a picture called Michael Scott's Wooing . What the story was that Rossetti proposed to illustrate by this design, and where he got it from, I do not know. The catalogue of the Burlington House exhibition of 1883 describes it as a “magical pageant of Love, Death, and various other figures,” arranged by the wizard to please a lady with whom he was in love, and of whom Rossetti once began a separate drawing, which he inscribed “ Michael Scott's Mistress.” It was at any rate a favourite theme, and remained by the artist for very many years, an early but quite  

La Castagnetta (The dancing                         girl; The daughter of   Herodias.)

THE DANCING GIRL.

Figure: Oil, oval-shaped. Upper torso of a garlanded woman almost in profile to the left. She holds a pair of castanets in each hand, and her arms are crossed in front of her.



different version of the subject having been presented in 1853 to Alexander Munro. 1 This is given for comparison in the text. The subject was commissioned as a water-colour in 1867 by Mr. Frederick Craven, and Mr. W. M. Rossetti mentions a letter of 1871 as tending
Transcribed Footnote (page 144):

1 That these were not the only versions of the design is evident from the following description in one of Rossetti's note-books: “Michael Scott's mistress standing by the girl with a cup of magic wine, and looking at her with pity. Deerhound with his head up, howling at the spell. Women trying to stop him, or perhaps old woman frowning and railing at him from corner. Michael lying along the front of the picture at the girl's feet. Death's-head moth fluttering round the burning lock of hair. Perhaps two openings above the side seats, with a number of girls watching—Michael Scott's harem. Raven picking up scraps in old woman's lap, while she cuts a silver cross from the girl's girdle.” This last episode is repeated in the 1866 design.

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Sibylla Palmifera (Venus                         Palmifera.)

Sibylla Palmifera

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. Upper torso of a seated woman in a flowing dark robe facing front, holding a palm branch in her right hand. She is seated on a throne beneath a stone canopy overlooking a temple court, while behind her on the left a lamp illumines the carved head of a blinded Cupid wreathed with roses; on the right a burning censer stands beneath a carved skull crowned with red poppies.Surtees, p. 112.



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Michael Scott's Wooing

MICHAEL SCOTT'S WOOING

Figure: Red chalk. Michael Scott kneels in the foreground and slips a ring on to the girl's finger; further to the right stands a hooded female figure cutting a crucifix from her girdle. Love stands in the centre, in the fork of a tree, head upturned, surrounded by foliage; his wings are closed, the tips crossed in front of his body. On the extreme left two shrouded figures are introduced, one with back turned. On either side above, are groups of young women looking down on the scene below.Surtees, p. 124



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Sig. U
to imply that a painted version was actually in preparation for Mr. Leyland. It was certainly not finished, however, even if it was ever begun. The crayon design is still in the possession of Mr. H. H. Trist.
In 1866 was painted the water-colour Hamlet and Ophelia , owned by Mr. A. T. Squarey, of Liverpool. This will be found reproduced under 1858, for comparison with the well-known pen-and-ink drawing of that date. The year's record closes with an oil portrait of the painter's mother, towards whom at all periods of his life his devotion was exemplary; a large crayon drawing of Christina  

Michael Scott's Wooing

MICHAEL SCOTT'S WOOING. C. 1848.

Figure: Pen and brown ink. Inscription lower right: "DGR to A.M. 1853" Young woman holding an open book, having her hair dressed by an attendant, is seated beside a man; both are facing to the left looking towards the figure of Love standing beneath a tree, playing on an instrument. A child sits on the floor to the right of the chair; another figure in the background with head bowed.Surtees, p. 21



Rossetti, with her thoughtful face resting on her hands; and two designs for her second volume of poems, The Prince's Progress, which for the sake of convenience in reference have already been described under 1862, together with the pair for “Goblin Market.”
In 1867 Rossetti painted the oil Christmas Carol for Mr. Rae, an entirely different subject, as has already been explained, from the 1857-8 water-colour. This is a half-length figure of a girl, draped in a gold and purple robe of Eastern stuff, and playing upon a species of lute suspended round her neck. With head thrown back she carols out a joyful Christmas hymn. On the frame is the following inscription culled from the “Winchester Mysteries”: “Here a
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maid, well-apparelled, sings a song of Christ's birth with the tune of Bululalow:— Jesus Christus hodie Natus est de Virgine.
An admirable engraving has been made by M. Gaujean from the Christmas Carol , and published by Mr. Dunthorne. On this account all that I shall reproduce of it is a small photograph from the crayon study , which belongs to Mrs. Aglaia Coronio.
Two small but pretty pictures of 1867 are Joli Cœur and Monna Rosa . The first, which was bought by Mr. Graham, represents a  

A Christmas Carol

STUDY FOR THE CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Figure: Crayon. Upper torso of a seated woman turned left, head leaning back to right, playing a stringed instrument.



coy-looking maiden fingering her necklace, and evidently proud of the beautiful pearl ornament daintily stuck in her hair. It now belongs to Miss Horniman, and has been exhibited three or four times. A pencil drawing of it is said to exist. Monna Rosa belonged to Mr. Leyland, though an earlier version (judging from an entry in a letter quoted by Mr. W. M. Rossetti in his book “ D. G. R. as Designer and Writer”) appears to have been in the possession of Mr. Peter Miller in 1864. The subject has attached to it a legend from Poliziano:
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Joli Coeur

JOLI CŒUR

Swantype

Figure: Oil. Inscribed title upper left; monogram and date upper right: "1867." Upper torso of a dark haired woman facing front, head tilted right, holding in her right hand a necklace to which is attached a heart-shaped pendant. A seashell-shaped pin made of pearl is in her hair.



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  • “Con manto d'oro, collana ed anelli
  • Le piace aver con quelli
  • Non altro che una rosa ai suoi capelli.”


Its principal interest is as a study in beautiful colour, representing a lady clad in a dress of pale emerald, with golden fruit worked upon it, plucking a rose from a tree planted in a blue jar. Gold and red are the keynotes of the picture, and are perpetuated in various degrees in the twenty or more roses on the tree, the gold on her  

Monna Rosa

MONNA ROSA.

Figure: Oil. Full length of a woman turned profile right, wearing a floral-patterned dress, and plucking a rose from a rose tree in a vase at right.



dress, the gold ornaments she wears, her gold auburn hair, a red pot in the flower-stand, and a large peacock screen in the background, also of red purple. The picture was sold in 1892, together with the rest of the Leyland collection.
The next item of 1867 is a more important one than either of the foregoing, being the exquisite Loving Cup . The original and best version of this is the oil picture, formerly owned by Mr. Leyland and now in the possession of Mr. T. H. Ismay. It is this which I have reproduced. It was followed in the same year by three water-colour replicas, of which one was commissioned by Mr. W. Graham and is at the moment of writing on exhibition at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in the name of Mr. Charles A. Swinburne (not the poet). It is on a panelled stretcher, and has generally been described erroneously on that account as an oil. 1
Transcribed Footnote (page 147):

1 This may be a convenient place to state that most of Rossetti's later pictures which are described in Christie's and Exhibition catalogues as “Panel” are in reality canvas stretched on panel, a mode of protection commonly adopted by Rossetti. The Loving Cup (oil) was perhaps the last picture that he actually painted on panel. Water-colours and drawings were often put down also on to panelled stretchers, and this has in some cases led to a wrong description, as in the above instance.

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A second replica belongs to Mr. Alexander Stevenson; and a third, sold amongst the late Mr. Bibby's pictures this year (1899), is now in the possession of Mr. J. Beausire, of Birkenhead. The subject is a young and beautiful lady—how everlastingly foolish it is to say that Rossetti painted nothing but one mournful type!—robed in crimson, and standing against a background of fair embroidered linen, surmounted by a row of heavy brazen plates. With long brown hair gracefully looped about her shapely neck, she raises to her lips a golden cup, holding the cover in her left hand, and pledging her unseen knight.



  • “Douce nuit et joyeux jour
  • A cavalier de bel amour”


is the inscription attached to some copies of this picture, which is probably too well known from photographs to require praise or description.
Such is not the case, however, with another picture of the same year, the water-colour Return of Tibullus to Delia , which has also been generally described from its glazed appearance as an oil. The subject is taken from the end of the third elegy of Tibullus, in which he takes farewell of his mistress, and begs her to await his next coming:



  • “Live chaste, dear love; and while I'm far away,
  • Be some old dame thy guardian night and day.
  • She'll sing thee songs, and when the lamp is lit,
  • Ply the full rock and draw long threads from it.
  • So, unannounced, shall I come suddenly,
  • As 'twere a presence sent from heaven to thee.
  • Then as thou art, all long and loose thy hair,
  • Run to me, Delia, run with thy feet bare.”


In the picture Tibullus is seen bursting in at the door, followed by a joyful slave girl, who pulls aside the curtain. Delia is seated wearily, distaff in hand, on a couch, and on the floor is “the old dame, her guardian,” singing to a lute. A young black slave is sleeping across the threshold. Numerous pencil sketches [sketch 1] [sketch 2] [sketch 3] [sketch 4] [sketch 5] were made from Miss Siddal for Delia, sitting on the couch and biting a long tress of hair in her teeth, which shows that the design must have been of considerably earlier date than this year, when it was commissioned by Mr. Frederick Craven. A duplicate water-colour, not so fine, was painted in the following year. Another water-colour was painted for Mr. Craven about the same time as the Tibullus , called Aurora , and was exhibited along with it in Man-
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The Loving Cup

The Loving Cup

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. Nearly full length of a dark-haired woman who raises a gold cup to her lips with which she is about to pledge her unseen knight. In the background, a high Venetian sideboard covered with a lace cloth on which are ranged four brass dishes; sprays of ivy form an additional pattern. The head is taken from Alexa Wilding.Surtees, p. 115



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The Return of Tibullus                         to Delia

THE RETURN OF TIBULLUS TO DELIA

Figure: Water colour. At right, Tibullus enters the room. Delia is leaning over to the left with hair outspread, holding a lock of hair between her lips; in her right hand she holds a shuttle. The serving woman holds back a curtain to enable Tibullus to enter. A large basket filled with balls of coloured wool has been introduced; also a cat sleeping on a red stool. An elderly woman sits on the floor playing upon two musical instruments.Surtees, p. 25, 24



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chester at the great Exhibition of 1882. This was a “toilet” picture, modelled upon Morning Music .
These exhaust the most important productions of 1867, the remainder being a water-colour called Tessa la Bionda (“Tessa the Fair”); A Magdalen , done for Mr. Leyland (a crayon head, not connected with the Magdalene at the Door of Simon ); a pair of crayon drawings called Peace and Contemplation , done for Mr. L. R. Valpy; a replica of Tristram and Yseult drinking the Love Potion , already mentioned; and a crayon replica of Venus Verticordia , which was bought by Mr. Leyland and subsequently acquired by Mr. Bibby.
The last year of this period was probably in part taken up with finishing off the long list of pictures described, and was also cut into by Rossetti's breakdown in health and sudden anxiety about his eyesight. Even in 1867 he had written to a friend: “I must tell you that since my return to town I have found the confusion in my head and the strain on my eyes decidedly rather on the increase than otherwise. I mention this in confidence, as it would be injurious to me if it got about.” At the same time he was consulting Sir William Bowman, the famous oculist, and no doubt had to relax his hours of work. In this year, nevertheless, he painted the portrait of Mrs. William Morris , in a blue dress, seated at a table before a glass of flowers, which many competent judges regard as one of his very finest pictures, and which was the prelude to that long series of noble canvases by which he has become best known to the public. Mrs Morris has lent her portrait to the National Gallery, where it hangs (at Millbank) beside the Ecce Ancilla and the Beata Beatrix . Here the public have full opportunities for admiring its exquisite colour and painting—qualities of masterhood that overshadow the earnest simplicity and effort of Rossetti's little early picture. Several crayon studies were done for the portrait, some of them in a different pose from the one adopted, but nearly all finished with that marvellous art which renders Rossetti's work in chalks hardly less valuable than his painting. The study called Reverie , belonging to Mr. Watts-Dunton, of which Mrs. Morris herself has a very fine duplicate, belongs to this class and period, though suggestive in treatment of a later picture, The Daydream , in which Mrs. Morris is represented sitting in a sycamore tree. But there is little doubt that Rossetti, from the sittings which Mrs. Morris then gave him, built up materials for much of his subsequent work, just as he had previously done in the case of Miss Siddal. 1
Transcribed Footnote (page 149):

1 This may be a suitable place to draw attention to the fact that the sonnet beginning

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The other productions of 1868 are Bionda del Balcone , an enlarged replica in water-colour of Bocca Baciata ; The Rose , a water-colour drawing of a lady at a window, formerly in the Turner collection, at the sale of which in 1888 it fetched £89, and later in the possession of Mr. Alexander Ionides, at whose sale ten years later it fetched £300; Aurea Catena , a fine crayon drawing of Mrs. Morris, said (but without truth) to have been a first study for La Pia , a picture painted many years later of the unhappy wife of Nello della Pietra, of Siena, who was locked up by him in a castle overlooking the fever-haunted Maremma, until she died. Rossetti, it is known, did begin upon La Pia about this date, and completed two very fine drawings for it in black chalk, which used to be in the possession of Mr. Howell, but which disappeared before the picture was taken up. These drawings are usually known by the full title of the legend, Ricorditi di me che son La Pia . Some versions in coloured crayon which exist are replicas of later date. 1 Except that the “lady of the golden chain” is seated at a parapet, gazing out into space, there is nothing in common between the picture of La Pia and this drawing, which is simply a very beautiful portrait. It is in Lord Battersea's possession, at Overstrand, near Cromer.
A water-colour replica of Venus Verticordia , the one done for Mr. William Graham, and a replica for Mr. Craven of St. George and the Princess Sabra , Miss Heaton's picture, painted in 1862, close the list of works executed by Rossetti (in some cases, it must be suspected, with the help of his assistants) between the years 1862 and 1868. The length of this chapter, as compared with previous ones, speaks sufficiently, without any further remarks, for the volume and importance of his output during this period.
Transcribed Footnote (page 150):

[ 1]“One face looks out from all his canvases,” by Miss Christina Rossetti, which is printed opposite the title-page, refers to Miss Siddal, not to Mrs. Morris, as most people would probably imagine. The date should show this, but it might perhaps be overlooked, in which case the sonnet would appear to confirm, instead of disprove, the popular delusion as to Rossetti's devotion to one type of beauty.

Transcribed Footnote (page 150):

1 One of these has been published in photographic form by Mr. Caswall Smith. It was originally bought by the late Earl of Lytton, and is now the property of his daughter, Lady Betty Balfour.

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Reverie

REVERIE

Figure: Coloured chalks. Monogram and date inscribed on a scroll upper left: "1868." A seated young woman leans right, resting her cheek upon her left hand. Branches fill the upper background.



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Aurea Catena

AUREA CATENA

Figure: Colored chalks on grey-blue paper. Upper torso of a dark-haired woman turned almost profile left, in a leafy bower, fingering her necklace with her right hand, leaning against a railing.



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CHAPTER VIII

1869 TO 1872—KELMSCOTT, 1872 TO 1874
THE insomnia which began to attack Rossetti in his thirty-ninth year, and which was the indirect cause of his subsequent breakdown, is attributed by his brother, in the first instance, to melancholy thoughts consequent upon the death of his wife. Other contributory causes might also be suggested in the case of a man so imaginatively gifted. An affection of his eyesight, already mentioned, which began to cause him much anxiety, was no doubt connected with the general overstrain of his nervous system, and in addition he developed an internal ailment which caused him trouble from time to time. For his eyes he adopted spectacles, often one pair on top of another, which he wore continually, as depicted later in the dining-room scene in Chapter XI., where Mr. Dunn has shown him reading aloud to Mr. Theodore Watts-Dunton, who in later years became his constant companion, and even adviser on artistic and literary points. He was hardly the sort of man to bear an illness patiently, or to make the least of it; so that trials which would have sat but lightly on a more phlegmatic nature, became in his case almost insupportable, and reacted on his naturally genial temperament. In the autumn of 1866 he took Mr. Dunn with him on a short tour in Warwickshire, revisiting the places he had walked through on his return from Carlisle in 1853, and proceeding thence to Penkill Castle in Ayrshire, the residence of Miss Boyd. Here he had the congenial company of Mr. W. B. Scott, and of a most amiable and considerate hostess. On his return in November, his eyes still gave him trouble, but he continued with interruptions to work on his large canvases, most of which henceforward were painted from Mrs. Morris as the sitter.
In 1869 the visit to Penkill was repeated, and is of interest, because it was not until this occasion that he gave a serious thought to the publishing of his early poems, some of which were still
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going about in manuscript in a more or less finished condition, though others were buried in his wife's grave. As a relief from the strain of painting, moreover, he began to write again. The ballad of “Troy Town”, part of “Eden Bower”, and the “Stream's Secret”, not to mention others of his later works, were composed at this time. His first idea was to have the poems, such of them as he could collect or recall from memory, set up in type to keep by him as a nucleus for a possible volume, and in this proof-sheet form they actually exist. Gradually, however, the idea of publishing outright grew or was forced upon him; and the last obstacle to this, the loss of so much of his early work, was finally removed one day in October, 1869, when, after a consent wrung from him very reluctantly, the grave was opened, and the manuscript poems recovered. A painful interval of recopying followed, and at last in 1870 the book appeared, having as publisher Mr. F. S. Ellis, of King Street, Covent Garden (afterwards Messrs. Ellis and Elvey, of 29, New Bond Street). In some ways it was no doubt an advantage to have kept the poems back so long. His fame as a painter protected them now from the obscurity in which every volume of verse by a young writer is launched, and they proved an immediate success. Rossetti was fortunate in dealing with a publisher who was not only a man of considerable attainments himself, able to appreciate as well as push the poems, but one who was willing to undertake the risk on generous terms; so that within a week or two Rossetti found himself £300 the richer for the publication, with a small but steady annual return thereafter. A deal of exaggerated nonsense (started by W. B. Scott's book) has been talked about his procuring “cooked” or favourable reviews, the fact being that, like most men who are in a position to do so, he took some pains to see that his book fell into the hands of reviewers likely to understand it, and familiar with his position. If this be “cooking” reviews, Heaven help some modern novelists! Amongst the most loudly appreciative notices of Rossetti's new volume was one by Mr. Algernon Charles Swinburne; amongst the few that were really hostile, if not the only one, was a magazine article by Mr. Thomas Buchanan. One does not want, at this time of day, to rake up again the unfortunate affair of that pseudonymous attack in the “Contemporary” called “The Fleshly School of Poetry”, by “Thomas Maitland.” Mr. Buchanan has long since admitted and recanted the injustice, which he describes as “a mere drop of gall in an ocean of eau sucrée;” and there we might let it lie, but
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Mrs. William J. Stillman

MRS. STILLMAN (MISS MARIE SPARTALI)

Figure: Red chalk on greenish paper. Lower right corner, monogram and date: "1869." Head three-quarters to left. The hair is worn in a braided coil with a tendril escaping at the nape of the neck.Surtees, p. 197



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for the fact which no decent man or lover of Rossetti can forget, that after his slander had been exposed Mr. Buchanan chose to repeat it with extensions in the form of a pamphlet. The effect of this persistent hostility on a man of Rossetti's sensitive temperament, suffering from nervous fancies, and troubled by want of sleep, was disastrous. He viewed as a great conspiracy against him what other men, in sounder health, would have been able to disregard, and the effect was unhappily permanent. Mr. Buchanan has not the excuse that it was a critical onslaught to which Rossetti objected. Ill as he was, Rossetti could probably have ignored Mr. Buchanan's criticism. But it was a scathing, wanton, and quite unsupported attack on his moral position, involving in the same breath Swinburne and William Morris, the very Galahad of pure-minded writers, whom he associated with some of the worst vices prevalent in Paris.
Rossetti, Swinburne, and Morris, as poets, have all survived Mr. Buchanan's anonymous attack. All that that gentleman has to reproach himself with is the effect upon the health, and indirectly upon the life of the first-named, which no apologies could undo. Rossetti had by this time acquired the habit of taking chloral as a cure for sleeplessness, without knowing, what is well known now, its lamentable after-effect. The drug was then new, and was believed to be harmless. To him it came as a godsend. In the course of time, naturally, he took to increasing the dose, complicating it with spirits, and otherwise behaving as people do who fall victims to this form of narcotic; but the abuse began with, and was largely due to this episode of the “Fleshly School”. For a time, if one may accept his brother's judgment, Rossetti was hardly to be regarded as sane; all sorts of delusions disturbed his mind. A passage in Browning's “Fifine at the Fair,” then just published, he seized upon as an intended insult, and Browning was forsworn for ever. Even Lewis Carroll's “Hunting of the Snark” he suspected to be a skit upon him, and so another old acquaintance was cut off. These were painful days for his brother and the little group of friends who tried to cheer him and divert his thoughts. Dr. Gordon Hake came to the rescue and offered his house at Roehampton for a change. Here, either by accident or design, he swallowed the contents of a phial of laudanum, and for a couple of days lay between life and death. A strong constitution and prompt treatment, however, overcame the danger, and after a short interval at Madox Brown's house Rossetti was taken up to Scotland, first to
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Urrard and Stobhall, two mansions rented by Mr. William Graham, and then to a farmhouse at Trowan, near Crieff. Madox Brown, and afterwards Scott, with the two Hakes, father and son, accompanied him. Three months after this move Mr. Treffry Dunn was sent for, and painting re-commenced, the work on which he was engaged being the replica of Beata Beatrix for Mr. Graham. Long walks amid healthy scenery, good hours, and a freedom from external worries partially restored him to health, and late in September of that year, 1872, Rossetti left Scotland for Kelmscott, on the borders of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, where he had taken the fine old Elizabethan manor house jointly with Mr. and Mrs. Morris. 1 In order to pay expenses during his illness his valuable collection of blue china had to be sold. He continued taking chloral, though not at first in immoderate quantities, and, if so trivial a detail be admissible, he began to let his whiskers grow in addition to the moustache and beard by which he is generally known in portraits.
Rossetti's work at Kelmscott during 1872, 1873, and 1874 has been mentioned once or twice already. It consisted to a large extent in repainting many of his old pictures, which he had sent to him for the purpose. In this way he worked upon the Lilith , Beloved , Monna Vanna , and other important canvases, including even the little early Ecce Ancilla Domini , which had just come into the market and was sent to him by the purchaser, Mr. William Graham, on the express condition that he was not to alter its primitive character. It is stated that he repainted the lily which the angel Gabriel bears.
About 1872, Mr. Theodore Watts, who combined the business of a lawyer with the attractions of a man of letters, visited Rossetti at Kelmscott, and made a great impression upon him. This was the foundation of their subsequent attachment, which, however, was not carried further at the period mentioned. Rossetti left Kelmscott suddenly in July, 1874, owing to some dispute in which, during a moment of nervous excitement, he became involved with a party of anglers staying in the place. Finding things unpleasant, he returned
Transcribed Footnote (page 154):

1 This arrangement had been entered into about June, 1871, and Rossetti had already spent some months of the previous year there. During that time he had painted a view of the old house with its many gables and the river front as a background to the picture Water-willow . In a letter dated May 17th, 1871, William Morris describes Kelmscott as “a little village about two miles above Radcott Bridge—a heaven on earth,” and speaks of “going down again next Saturday with Rossetti and my wife; Rossetti because he thinks of sharing with us if the thing looks likely.”

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Penelope

PENELOPE

Figure: Chalk. Nearly full-length of a woman turned partly to left, cheek resting on right hand, sitting before a tapestry loom, holding a shuttle in her left hand.Surtees, p. 121



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to London, and that was the end of his connection with the quiet Gloucestershire retreat, which thenceforward became associated solely with the life of William Morris.
During the years 1869 to 1871, and the two following which Rossetti spent at Kelmscott, he was at work on a number of fairly important new canvases in addition to the retouching of old ones  

Theodore Watts-Dunton

THEODORE WATTS, 1874.

Figure: Crayon. Head and shoulders turned slightly to the left; heavy drooping moustache.Surtees, p. 199



which has already been referred to. A sprinkling of crayons and small pictures also has to be mentioned. In 1869 he drew the Rosa Triplex , a study of three heads from one model; Penelope , a very fine crayon design belonging to Mr. Leathart, of Gateshead, which is unique in the respect that it was done from a favourite model of Sir Edward (then Mr.) Burne-Jones; La Mandolinata and a drawing in the possession of Mr. Constantine Ionides of A girl holding her knees , two typical subjects; a design for what would
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have been a fine picture, the meeting of Orpheus and Eurydice , from Virgil, now in the collection of Col. Gillum (though this may be later), and the first chalk study for Pandora .The last was formerly in Mr. Graham's collection, 1 and now belongs to Mr. Charles Butler, who also owns the oil picture.
The Rosa Triplex drawing of 1869 is one of four or five versions which exist, and is the most certainly genuine one of them all. At least some critics are a little doubtful of the others. This particular version, like the Mary Magdalene , was lost for many years, but finally reappeared in the possession of Mr. J. J. Lowndes, who presented it to the National Gallery. It is now at Millbank— though not, at the date of writing, included in the catalogue.
Another charming drawing of 1869 is the portrait of Mrs. [Stillman]  

Rosa Triplex

ROSA-TRIPLEX—CRAYON.

Figure: Chalk. Title lower center. Monogram and date lower right: "1867." Three identical women, arms entwined, each holding a rose in her left hand.



Stillman, in red chalk on greenish paper, reproduced here. A companion portrait of Mr. Stillman was drawn in the following year.
Throughout the year 1870, with one or two exceptions, Mrs. Morris's is the face which figures in Rossetti's work. In this year we have La Donna della Fiamma , a large crayon drawing of a lady, from whose outstretched hand there issues a flame containing a little suppliant spirit figure. The drawing was owned by the late Mr. Clarence E. Fry, and is still in the family. It was unfor-
Transcribed Footnote (page 156):

1 There is a question, apparently, whether Mr. Graham's crayon was the original study for the picture or a replica of it made in the same year. Mr. Sandys has a story about it, which points to the latter being the case; but as Rossetti himself circulated photographs of this version, it must at least have satisfied him and been his work. A second drawing of the same date certainly does exist, and was exhibited at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1883 in the name of Mr. T. Eustace Smith, M. P. This is described in the catalogue as the original.

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La Donna Della Fiamma

LA DONNA DELLA FIAMMA

Figure: Colored chalks. Title inscribed in top right corner, "DGR 1870" inscribed lower right. Seated woman in a long flowing robe. The head is taken from Mrs. Morris; from her right hand issues a winged figure in a flame of fire; on her left wrist is a circular mark.Surtees, p. 122



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tunately injured some little time ago by an accident, and repaired by Mr. Shields. La Donna della Fiamma was no doubt intended as a study for a picture, as was an even finer drawing called Silence , of which more than one version exists. Mr. W. M. Rossetti relates that on his brother's return from Scotland in 1872, he thought of taking up the picture of Silence , and was much disgusted to find that during his illness the more finished study had been sold out of  

Silence

SILENCE.

Figure: Black and red chalk. The figure of Jane Morris holds in one hand a branch of peach. With the other hand she draws together the veil enclosing the shrine in which she sits.Surtees, p. 122



his studio. He insisted on buying it back, but did not begin the picture, and the study was finally sold some time later to Mr. Charles Rowley, of Manchester, by whom it was exhibited at Burlington House in 1883, and afterwards published.
The Roseleaf , dated 1870, is a graceful head of Mrs. Morris, named from a spray she is holding. I have reproduced it by permission of Mr. W. M. Rossetti. The Prisoner's Daughter is, equally, a mere portrait, half-length, lying back, with a book or paper in the hand, and supposed to illustrate a tale by Mr. Theodore
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Watts-Dunton, to whom it belongs. 1 In addition to the drawings I have just mentioned, all done from Mrs. Morris, are several less easy to name, including a series of recumbent studies of which Lord Battersea has one (exhibited at the New Gallery under the title of The Couch ), and another, belonging to Mr. Watts-Dunton, is reproduced here. A number were sold at Rossetti's sale in 1883.
A more important item of 1870, to be classed however with the work of 1868, is Mariana , an oil painting formerly in the possession  

The Roseleaf

THE ROSELEAF.

Figure: Pencil. Monogram and date left center: "1870." Head and shoulders of Mrs. Morris turned to right, holding up a spray of rose-leaf with her right hand and fingering it with her left.Surtees, p. 122



of Mr. William Graham, and now owned by Mr. Francis Buxton. The title of the picture is taken from a scene in “Measure for Measure,” and has no connection whatever with the design done for Tennyson's “Mariana in the Moated Grange”.The picture was really begun at the same time as the portrait of Mrs. Morris now lent to the Tate Gallery, but Rossetti put it aside at the time, and finished it off later for Mr. William Graham, painting in a portrait of his son as the page singing to the lute. 2 He then gave it the Shakespeare
Transcribed Footnote (page 158):

1 This must have been an afterthought, because Rossetti's acquaintance with Mr. Watts-Dunton did not begin until two years later than the execution of the drawing.

Transcribed Footnote (page 158):

2 Mr. Graham was very anxious to have a replica of the portrait of Mrs. Morris, which Rossetti declined to paint. This picture was done for him as a compromise.

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Mariana

Mariana

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. Mrs. Morris, three-quarter-length, seated to right, holding a sycamore branch across her knees.Surtees, p. 121 At upper right, a lute-player, head tilted to left.



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Woman with a Fan

LADY WITH THE FAN

Figure: Crayons. Monogram and date inscribed on a scroll upper left: "1870." Fanny Cornforth, three-quarter-length, seated turned to the left, eyes looking to front, holding a feather fan in her left hand; her right arm is extended across her body, the hand resting on the chair-arm.Surtees, p. 123



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name, and added to the frame the legend from the page's song: “Take, O take those lips away.” It is said that he had originally some idea of music in connection with the portrait, and intended to put in a bird, to whose notes the lady should be listening—a theme which he developed afterwards in Veronica Veronese . At any rate the picture, as a piece of painting, is nearly, though not quite as fine as the Tate Gallery portrait, which it resembles in its main accessories (the rich blue gown, etc.), and in the absence of the other is  

Mrs. William Morris

THE COUCH.

Figure: Pencil. Inscription at right: "27 July 1870." Whole-length on a sofa, crouched, leaning forward to the right, the head in profile against the sofa arm. Her shoulders and right hand are supported by a bolster; her left arm is drawn up under her, only the hand is visible.Surtees, p. 177



well worthy of reproduction amongst the principal plates in this book.
The crayon drawing of a Lady with a Fan , which is reproduced here, interrupts, as will be noticed, the series of studies drawn from Mrs. Morris. This is a portrait, and a remarkably fine one, of Mrs. Schott, the model whose features were chosen for the Lilith and the Blue Bower . It has become familiar to the outside world through having been published by the Autotype Company at a time when such publications were rarer than they are at present. The drawing itself used to belong to Mr. Constantine
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Ionides, but is now in the possession of Mr. Fairfax Murray. It bears no relationship whatever, except in name, to the Monna Vanna already described in Mr. Rae's collection.
Two studies of 1870, for La Donna della Finestra , one of Rossetti's favourite themes from the “Vita Nuova,” bring us back to the main current of his work at this time. The one illustrated may be slightly the earlier of the two. It will be seen by comparing it with the reproduction of the picture painted in 1879 that there are strong differences, especially in the position of the hands. A  

La Donna Della Finestra (The                         Lady of Pity.)

STUDY: LA DONNA DELLA FINESTRA.

Figure: Pastel on greenish paper. Monogram and date lower left corner: "1870." Half-length of Jane Morris, turned to the left, head and eyes facing front, and hands placed upon a ledge in front of her; the heavy dark hair, fastened behind the ears lies outspread on the shoulders.Surtees, p. 152



chalk replica of this was made in 1880. The other study resembles the picture more exactly. It belonged to the late Mr. H. V. Tebbs, and is generally regarded as a remarkably fine drawing. On a scroll below the figure it has the legend, “Color d'Amore e di Pietà Sembiante,” and like most of the drawings for the Donna della Finestra it bears a variant title, The Lady of Pity , which is apt to be misleading. It will be found under this name in the catalogue of the Burlington House Exhibition of 1883, where it was numbered 337. It is also described as “on panel,” an absurdity in the case of a crayon drawing, meaning simply that it is on a panelled stretcher (see footnote to page 147).
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Dante's Dream at the                         Time of the Death of Beatrice

STUDY FOR BEATRICE

Figure: Monogram and date upper left: 1870. Study for Beatrice. Half-length to left; her eyes are closed; hands folded on her breast; the heavy dark hair falls about her shoulders.Surtees, p. 45 Assumed to be S81.R.1.F.



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In the same year were made the first studies for Rossetti's great oil picture of Dante's Dream . These included a very lovely head of the dead Beatrice , done from Mrs. Morris, and now in the possession of Mrs. Coronio; a head of Dante, in the possession of Mrs. A. Ionides; and sundry studies for the two pall-bearing maidens, of whom the one at the head of the bier was done from Mrs. Stillman ( née Miss Marie Spartali) and the one at the foot I think from Miss Wilding. I have seen it stated that Mr. Forbes Robertson  

Troy Town.

DESIGN FOR TROY TOWN.

Figure: Black chalk and violet wash. Helen kneels at the altar of Venus offering her a double cup moulded upon her own breasts. Venus and Cupid watch from behind a curtain on the right.Surtees, p. 123



sat for the figure of Love, and that the Dante was drawn from Mr. Stillman. The picture itself will come up for description under the year following, 1871, and again to some extent in 1881. We may therefore leave it for the present, and record the remaining items of 1870, which are a large pencil drawing for Mary Magdalene at the Door of Simon , similar in composition to the pen-and-ink version of 1858, but lacking the fawn and figures of the background; a crayon replica of Beata Beatrix , which belonged to Mr. Valpy; and two designs for pictures not executed— Troy Town , after Rossetti's ballad, and The Death of Lady Macbeth .
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In the former Helen is shown offering at the shrine of Venus a double cup:



  • “Saying ‘A little gift is mine,
  • A little gift for a heart's desire.
  • Hear me speak and make me a sign.


  • It was moulded like my breast;
  • ( O Troy Town!)
  • He that sees it may not rest,
  • Rest at all for his heart's desire.
  • O give ear unto my behest!’ ”




Above the altar on which stands the image of the goddess, Venus  

The Death of Lady Macbeth

DESIGN FOR THE DEATH OF LADY MACBETH.

Figure: Pencil. Title inscribed lower left. At center, Lady Macbeth sits up in bed, leaning forward, rubbing her hands together. A bearded physician to her left holds his hand to her forehead. To his left, a woman stares at a kneeling priest folding his hands in prayer, looking up; beside him is a young man staring at Lady Macbeth. At right an older woman watches Lady Macbeth and a younger woman, seated with a fan in her hand, sleeps.



and Cupid are seen peeping down from behind a veil at the lovely suppliant, conspiring to answer her prayer that they would fire with love the heart of Paris. I have reproduced this design here, by permission of its present owner, the Hon. Percy Wyndham. The drawing for the Death of Lady Macbeth (or rather drawings, for the design exists in pen-and-ink as well as in pencil) may possibly belong to a later date than 1870, but there is not much to guide one in fixing it. It is a rather harrowing conception, as the illustration shows—Lady Macbeth on her death-bed, sitting up, and with disordered mind rubbing at the fancied blood-spots on her guilty hand.
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Pandora

PANDORA: FROM THE PICTURE

Figure: Oil. With both hands she holds the fateful casket encrusted with precious stones and inscribed: Nescitur Ignescitur; from out of it issues an orange smoke curling upwards round her head taking the shape of spirit forms. The head is taken from Mrs. Morris.Surtees, p. 125



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At the foot of the bed kneels a priest in prayer, and behind him a youth swinging a censer. A physician bathes the frenzied sufferer's head, and beside her couch are attendant ladies, one of whom has fallen asleep with a fan in her hand.
The crayon study for Pandora has already been mentioned, under date 1869, and in 1871 the oil picture was painted. It was commissioned by Mr. John Graham, of Skelmorlie, the uncle of Mr. William Graham, in 1870, and was to be a three-quarter length figure. Before it was finished Rossetti conceived the idea of making it into a full length, but this did not take effect, partly because Mr. William Graham commissioned a full-length picture for himself. The latter figures a good deal in the correspondence of the next few years; so much so that Mr. W. M. Rossetti catalogues it under the year 1875 as actually done. I have not, however, found any confirmation of this, and there can be little doubt that it was not done. Rossetti was not apt to be successful with full-length figures, and this particular subject would hardly be attractive in that form. It certainly never came into the possession of Mr. William Graham, or any other of Rossetti's principal customers, and to the best of my knowledge it has never appeared anywhere else.
The 1871 picture of Pandora is now in the possession of Mr. Charles Butler, of Connaught Place, and is reproduced here. The head, of course, is done from Mrs. Morris. The figure is clad in a long robe of Venetian red, and is holding the fateful casket, from which issues a red smoke, curling all round her and forming behind into clustering shapes, like flame-winged seraph curses. Pandora herself wears a look of distant brooding melancholy rather than of surprise or grief. On the side of the casket is a spirit form, with the words “Nescitur Ignescitur,” and on the frame, below the picture, is the sonnet beginning:



  • “What of the end, Pandora? Was it thine,
  • The deed that set these fiery pinions free?”


The last six lines may be quoted as descriptive of the subject:



  • “What of the end? These beat their wings at will,
  • The ill-born things, the good things turned to ill,—
  • Powers of the impassioned hours prohibited.
  • Aye, clench the casket now! Whither they go
  • Thou mayst not dare to think: nor canst thou know
  • If Hope still pent there be alive or dead.”




Mr. Swinburne in his “Essays and Studies” praises this sonnet as the most perfect and exalted of all those done by Rossetti for his
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pictures, as the design itself is “amongst the mightiest in its godlike terror and imperial trouble of beauty.” This definite pronouncement, coupled with other winged words of praise, from one who had the closest sympathy with Rossetti's work, and a divine gift of appreciation for its best side, makes one shy of hazarding the opinion  

Pandora

REPLICA: PANDORA, 1879.

Figure: Colored crayons. Later version of the painting. The features of Mrs. Morris are exaggerated and almost grotesque. Three-quarter-length, standing slightly to right, wearing grey-white draperies which leave the massive shoulders and arm partly uncovered. In both hands she holds the casket bearing the legend Ultima Manet Spes, decorated with a splay of flowers and a winged head turned in profile; from its nearly closed lid issues a cloud of pink smoke which wreathes itself around Pandora's heavy dark hair, forming a halo of winged heads.Surtees, p.126



that both in qualities of invention and depth of feeling Pandora is inferior to the companion great picture owned by Mr. Butler, the 1877 Proserpine .
Besides the oil picture of Pandora , and the studies of 1869, there is a chalk replica of the subject dated 1879, with some variations, in the possession of Mr. Watts-Dunton, which I have reproduced here for comparison with the other.
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Water-willow , a little quarter-length figure with a river landscape behind, formerly in the possession of Mr. Turner, and now belonging to Mr. Samuel Bancroft in America, is interesting from the fact that it is a very charming picture of Mrs. Morris, and that the view behind is one of the old manor-house of Kelmscott on the bank of the Thames. Mr. Murray owns the study in coloured chalks , done in the same year as the oil, but with a different background—merely a winding river without the house  

Water Willow

WATER-WILLOW.

Figure: Oil. Head and shoulders of Mrs. Morris holding branches of willow in both hands. Behind her is the winding Thames, with Kelmscott Manor on the left bank; on the right is a small country church partly obscured by a tree and a punt moored by the river-bank.Surtees, p. 127



or willows. A drawing called Perlascura , “the Dark Pearl,” is a crayon head of Mrs. Morris, done in this year, and still in her own possession.
We now come to the picture of Dante's Dream , begun in 1870 and finished towards the close of 1871, Rossetti's most important work in the opinion of many people, and considerably his largest. The subject is that of the little early water-colour painted for Miss Heaton in 1856, and is best described by the following passage from the “ Vita Nuova”:

“A few days after this, my body became afflicted with a painful infirmity, . . . and

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I remember that on the ninth day being overcome with intolerable pain, a thought came into my mind concerning my lady. And weeping I said to myself: ‘Certainly it must some time come to pass that the very gentle Beatrice will die?’ Then feeling bewildered, I closed mine eyes; and my brain began to be in travail as the brain of one frantic, and to have such imaginations as here follow. . . . With that, while I wondered in my trance and was filled with a grievous fear, I conceived that a certain friend came unto me and said: ‘Hast thou not heard? She that was thine excellent lady has been taken out of life.’ And I seemed to look towards Heaven, and to behold a multitude of angels who were returning upwards, having before them an exceedingly white cloud: and these angels were singing together gloriously, and the words of their song were these: ‘ Osanna in Excelsis’: and there was no more that I heard. Then my heart that was so full of love said unto me: ‘It is true that our lady lieth dead:” and it seemed to me that I went to look upon the body wherein that blessed and most noble spirit had its abiding place.”

The latter portion of the vision which Dante is narrating, and which so powerfully affected his imagination, is best told in the poem following the prose passage, as this contains the incident of Love leading him, which is not in the other, and which the picture illustrates:



  • “Then Love spoke thus: ‘Now all shall be made clear:
  • Come and behold our lady where she lies.’
  • These idle phantasies
  • Then carried me to see my lady dead:
  • And standing at her head
  • Her ladies put a white veil over her;
  • And with her was such very humbleness
  • That she appeared to say, ‘I am at peace.’ ”


In the picture we see a youthful grave-faced Dante led by the figure of Love up to a bier whereon is laid the dead Beatrice, whom Love bends down to kiss. Two beautiful maidens at the head and foot of the bier are lowering upon her a pall, covered with symbolic flower-of-may, and the floor is strewn with poppies. An oil-lamp just above the bier is flickering out, and through an open space in the roof of the chamber can be dimly seen a flight of angel forms bearing upward with them the white soul that has just departed. To the right and left of the chamber are winding staircases looking out upon the sunny streets of Florence, now deserted for grief, a scroll of parchment pinned to one of the rafters containing the lamentation of Jeremiah: Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo! Facta est quasi vidua domina gentium. Love is clad in the colour of flame, with a pilgrim's scallop upon his shoulder, and birds of a consonant scarlet hue are flying in and out of the open stairways, typifying that the house is filled with the spirit of love. The two pall-bearing maidens are robed in green, and Dante in a sombre vesture of black, with dull purple under-sleeves.
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Dante's Dream at the                         Time of the Death of Beatrice

Dante's Dream

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. Within the chamber Dante is led forward by Love, the pilgrim of the Vita Nuova, wearing a scallop-shell on his shoulder. Two woman attendants lower a pall strewn with symbolic blossoms of the may-flower; red poppies of death cover the floor.Surtees, p. 42. In this replica DGR added two doves with crimson plumage, and the circular flight of angels bearing away the soul of Beatrice (upper centre). On the wall above the bier flickers a dying lamp; a scroll on the left records thc lamentation of Jeremiah: Quomodo sedet solo civitas.Surtees, p. 44



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Impressive as Dante's Dream may be, and grand as its conception undoubtedly is, it is not to be classed on all grounds with Rossetti's finest work. The execution is, moreover, not quite up to Rossetti's best level. Yet the picture in many respects is strikingly fine, and has been the object of boundless admiration. It has even been said that if no other of Rossetti's works survived but this and the Beata Beatrix , they alone would be enough to insure him a place among the few great artists of the world. In extenuation of any technical faults which the picture may possess it should be stated that the physical strain of painting so large a canvas was too much for Rossetti in his state of health at the time, and after an exceptionally hard year. He overworked himself to an injurious extent in his anxiety to cope with the difficulties and to make it as perfect as possible, and this was no doubt largely the cause of his lamentable break-down during the year following.
Dante's Dream was commissioned by Mr. William Graham, but not on the very ample scale that the artist finally chose for it. When it was delivered it was found, as the purchaser previously expected, to be too large for his walls, and had to be hung, much to its disadvantage, on a staircase. This perturbed Rossetti, who not long afterwards asked to be allowed to take the picture back, and undertook to paint in its place a smaller version of the subject.The large one remained in his studio, where it was seen and greatly admired by Mr. Valpy, who in 1873, through Howell's irresistible inducements, became its second purchaser, at the price of fifteen hundred guineas. 1 Even this arrangement did not prove final, for in 1878 Mr. Valpy retired from business as a solicitor in London and migrated to Bath, where it was not convenient for him to install so large a picture. Besides, Rossetti himself was anxious to prevent his masterpiece, as he then deemed it, from being removed to a provincial town; he therefore offered once more to take it back and to try to sell it to a new customer, engaging in this case not to refund the money, but to paint a number of smaller pictures for Mr. Valpy up to or above the original value. This was a decidedly good bargain in one way, for it enabled him to receive payment for the picture three times over; but, on the other hand, the subsequent negotiations gave him a great deal of trouble and worry, and I believe that at its third sale the picture did not realize more than £1,000. The various transactions relating to this, and to
Transcribed Footnote (page 167):

1 Howell tried at one point to cancel this negotiation, and to buy the picture himself for an unknown dealer, in order that it might be engraved and published.

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the pictures painted for Mr. Valpy in return, will be recorded later on.
The smaller replica that was commissioned by Mr. Graham Rossetti entered into a special undertaking to paint himself; and by  

Dante's Dream at the Time                         of the Death of Beatrice

DANTE'S DREAM: PREDELLA NO. 1.

Figure: Black crayon on grey-green paper. Dante asleep in bed facing right, attended by one woman at left, and four at right. In a cloud in the centre background is seen a shadowy impression of the five-figured composition of Dante's Dream. Surtees, p. 46



way of using up a difference of £300 in the prices of the two pictures (for it was not his custom to return money if he could help it) he agreed to add to it a pair of small predellas. These show, respectively, Dante seeing the vision in trance upon his couch , and the episode of certain anxious ladies hurrying in alarmed at hearing him cry out . Beneath them are the following inscriptions:

(1) “Dante, being sick, and crying out in a dream of his lady's death, is mourned over by his near kinswoman, whom other ladies lead thence by reason of his grief, and awaken him.”

(2) “Dante recalling the incidents of his sorrowful dream, recounts them to the ladies who have awakened him, whereto his grieving kinswoman also hearkens apart.”

 

Dante's Dream at the Time                         of the Death of Beatrice

DANTE'S DREAM: PREDELLA NO. 2.

Figure: Crayon on grey-green paper. At center, Dante sits up in bed facing right. At left, a woman leans over him touching his right shoulder, while at right three other women listen at the foot of his bed. A fifth woman sits hunched over at far right.



The second picture was not finished until 1880, when it came into Mr. Graham's possession. It now belongs to Mr. William Imrie, the ship-owner. Liverpool thus possesses at the present time both the large pictures of Dante's Dream .
In 1872, as has already been mentioned, Rossetti had a serious
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Veronica Veronese

Veronica Veronese

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. Full length of a seated woman turned right, head tilted left. She plucks the strings of a violin with her left hand, and holds the violin bow upright in her right. She sits at a table on which lay a musical score, inkwell, and a flower. A bird in a cage hangs upper left.



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Sig. Z
illness, and spent some months in Scotland. On his return thence, in the late autumn, he took up his residence at Kelmscott Manor, where most, if not all, of the remaining pictures enumerated in this chapter were painted. Shortly before his departure from Scotland, in September, he wrote to Madox Brown that on settling down at Kelmscott he intended to do two pictures from Mrs. Morris, The Daydream and a full-length Pandora , small life-size. For these heads had been drawn and were now in London, and he was making studies for the background of the first (some hills seen behind a sycamore tree) at Trowan. Either of these he proposed to offer to  

Paetus and Arria

DESIGN FOR PÆTUS AND ARRIA.

Figure: Pencil. A man and woman standing three-quarter-length; he kisses her on the forehead while holding a dagger in his right hand which she is showing him how to use. Lower right, a study for the two hands holding the knife.Surtees, p. 130



Mr. Leathart for 1,000 guineas, the half-length Pandora having cost Mr. John Graham 750. At the same time he mentions a desire to paint the tragic story of “ Pætus and Arria,” from Pliny, the Roman wife showing the husband how to commit suicide, for which a pencil design was made, and is reproduced here. The full-length Pandora is the one already mentioned a few pages back as having been commissioned by Mr. W. Graham, but not executed.
The next great picture that Rossetti took up (for the Daydream was not executed until considerably later) has a very complicated history attached to it, and is without exception the most difficult puzzle in connection with his artistic work. I refer to the Proserpine .
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With the aid of copious abstracts of Rossetti's correspondence, kindly placed at my disposal by his brother, I have unravelled the main facts, which have never before been accurately stated. The two important pictures of Proserpine , as we shall see later on, belong properly to the end of 1873 and 1874; but the study, now belonging to Mrs. Morris, was made in 1871, and in 1872 the subject was begun upon canvas no fewer than four times, the fourth picture finally being finished off and sold to Messrs. Parsons and Howell. Whether or not it was entirely painted by Rossetti is impossible to say; but Rossetti owned to it, although it was evidently a poor picture, and after remaining unsold for two years was taken back by him from the original purchaser. The three unfinished canvases of the same date were cut down and converted into heads, one of which, with Mr. Murray's help, I have been able to trace. It had the hands altered and some floral accessories added, and was named Blanzifiore or Snowdrops , by which title it is known and has been exhibited. This, at all events, Mr. Murray regards as a creditable specimen of Rossetti's work, and it bears an inscription in his own handwriting at the back. It belonged for some time to Howell, having been sold to him, together with a head of Miss May Morris , for £300. It is now in the possession of Mr. Goldmann.
The rest of the story of Proserpine had better be deferred for consideration under the date usually associated with the subject. In the meantime it is enough to say that the painting of an inferior picture by Rossetti in the first instance (to say nothing of several inferior pictures) from one of his great subjects, and of superior pictures—for one can hardly call them replicas—later on, is unique in the tangled annals of his work, and would appear incredible if the documentary evidence were not conclusive. The only explanation that can be offered is that Rossetti during these years at Kelmscott was frequently ill, was badly in want of money, and his assistant may at times have been more than usually active. Certainly much of his work done then, especially in retouching, was deplorable.
An exception must be made, however, from this general assertion in the case of the Veronica Veronese (finished in the year we are dealing with, 1872), against which no complaint can be raised either on the ground of design or of execution. On the contrary, this may be regarded as one of Rossetti's real successes, combining beautiful colour and consummate grace without any trace of the
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The Bower Meadow

THE BOWER MEADOW

Figure: Oil. Two seated women play stringed instruments in the foreground, while two women dance on a terrace in center background. A landscape with a lone walking figure forms the upper background.



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overstrained expression which mars, for some people, the pictures painted in his later life. The subject of Veronica Veronese is supposed to be taken from the letters of Girolamo Ridolfi, which describe how a lady, after listening to the notes of a bird, tries to commit them to paper, and finally to reproduce them on her violin.The quotation, 1 which is inscribed on the frame, is as follows:

Se penchant vivement, la Veronica jeta les premières notes sur la feuille vierge. Ensuite elle prit l'archet du violon pour réaliser son réve; mais avant de décrocher l'instrument suspendu, elle resta quelques instants immobile en écoutant l'oiseau inspirateur, pendant que sa main gauche errait sur les cordes cherchant le motif suprême encore eloigné. C'était le mariage des voix de la nature et de l'âme—l'aube d'une création mystique.

In the picture the Lady Veronica is robed in a rich gown of Rossetti's favourite green, with yellow daffodils in a glass beside her. A feather fan is suspended from her girdle. The bird, a canary, is perched on a cage above and behind her head. She sits at a writing cabinet, on which is a sheet with the musical notes she has been writing down; and listening with dreamy blue eyes to the bird's song she lets her thumb wander over the strings of the violin suspended on the wall before her. Had it been more known there is little doubt that this would have been long since, as it is now becoming, one of Rossetti's most popular pictures. It has been well reproduced and published by Mr. Caswall Smith, to whom I am indebted for the photograph used here . Veronica Veronese was one of the fine series of pictures painted for Mr. F. R. Leyland, at a cost of 800 guineas, the price for which he mostly commissioned them. The model for it was the beautiful Miss Wilding. At the Leyland sale it was acquired by Messrs. Agnew, and is now, I am informed by them, in the possession of Mr. R. Vaile.
Before leaving the year 1872 there is a minor but interesting episode to record. In this year Rossetti took up once more the old background of trees and foliage which he had painted in 1850, in his Pre-Raphaelite days, when studying with Holman Hunt at Knole Park, near Sevenoaks. Nothing had ever been done to it since; but now Rossetti, doubtless anxious to sell everything he could, painted in two women playing instruments and a group of dancing figures, for which very charming crayon studies were made, and called it The Bower Meadow . The first purchaser of this highly interesting combination of early and late styles was Mr. John Miller,
Transcribed Footnote (page 171):

1 I understand that no such passage actually occurs in Ridolfi's letters, and that it was probably composed to fit the idea. Rossetti and Mr. Swinburne were both “great hands” at composition of this kind, and either may have been responsible for it.

page: 172
who parted with it some years later to a dealer, from whom it was acquired at a high price by Mr. William Dunlop, of Bingley, Yorkshire. Mr. Dunlop owns it still, and has allowed it to be reproduced here for the first time.
La Ghirlandata , the next great oil picture by Rossetti, is dated 1873, and is one of those which has already crossed the Atlantic to the bourne whence works of art but seldom return. It was bought at the Graham sale in 1886 by Mr. Ross, a Scotch-Canadian, and is now in Montreal. The picture was painted from Miss Wilding, at Kelmscott, and represents a lady playing upon a garlanded harp, in the midst of a forest clearing, where angel faces peer down upon her rapt in wonder of her music, and mystical blue birds cleave the air. Miss May Morris sat for the two angelic faces. The whole is a subtle blending of subdued colour, where blue and green strive for the mastery. Beautiful as it is in these respects, La Ghirlandata , it must be admitted, lacks the invention and the interest of Rossetti's more vigorous early work. It is an inspiration, a touch of poetry, no more. The reproduction given here is not from the picture itself, but from a crayon drawing published by the Autotype Company. This formerly belonged to Mr. James Worrall, but has since been bought and sold by Messrs. Agnew.
A production of this year of relatively small importance in itself, though it may have served as a preliminary study for the Sea Spell , was Ligeia Siren , a crayon drawing of a naked sea-maiden (afterwards, I believe, draped) playing upon an extraordinary kind of lute. This was described by Rossetti himself, in a letter, as “quite an elaborate picture,” although only in chalk, and “certainly one of my best things.” It may be remarked here as an interesting trait that Rossetti always regarded the picture or design on which for the moment he happened to be engaged as his finest work. When he passed on to something else it ceased to occupy this paramount place in his affections, and underwent the criticism that he seemed at first afraid of applying to it. Ligeia Siren , for all that, is a highly finished work, fully worth the price (£210) put upon it by Rossetti. It was for some time in the possession of Mr. Constantine Ionides.
The story of Proserpine has already been told in part, and may now be concluded. The picture sold to Messrs. Howell and Parsons, an inferior one, as has been said, was seen by Mr. Leyland in July, 1873, and offered to him for 800 guineas. On hearing, however, that Rossetti was engaged upon “a very superior duplicate,” at a higher
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La Ghirlandata

LA GHIRLANDATA

Figure: Colored chalks. Monogram and date lower left corner: "1873." A woman plays a garlanded harp, while two youths peer down from upper left and upper right corners, each one resting a chin on a hand.



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price, he decided to take that instead. The new picture was practically completed by the beginning of October, when, as Rossetti wrote to Madox Brown, he found that in lining the face had become rucked. Determined that the picture should be his best, he accordingly set to and painted another. A month later he writes that the faultily-lined picture had been put right and made “so completely of his best work” that he had decided after all to send it to Mr. Leyland.This arrangement was upset at the last moment by the accident that in course of transit to Kelmscott, after being re-lined, the picture went astray—also, perhaps, Rossetti had again changed his intention; at any rate, it was the picture No. 2 (the sixth, if we reckon the four canvases of 1872) that was consigned to Mr. Leyland in December, 1873, and which crowned a long series of catastrophes by arriving in a damaged condition with the glass broken. 1 On receiving it back for repair Rossetti first decided that he could do nothing. Accordingly he set to work and painted a fresh one still— No. 3. What eventually became of the picture that had been re-lined there is nothing to show, but it seems certain that this was not the one finished up to replace the damaged picture. The latter remained in Rossetti's studio until 1877, when on re-examining it he found that the head and hands were intact. He accordingly had these cut out and inlaid on to a new canvas, and then painted the background and drapery afresh. At the same time he rather misleadingly re-dated the picture, which was bought by Mr. Turner.
The upshot of the whole transaction is that two large Proserpine s exist (not to reckon a possible third), of which the inscriptions and dates run as follows:

“Dante Gabriele Rossetti ritrasse nel capo d'anno del 1874”

“Dante Gabriele Rossetti ritrasse nel capo d'anno del 1877”

and of these the second is the earlier in its main features, having been completed in 1873. As to their comparative merits, the latter is also the more generally esteemed, on account of its severer and grander type of face; but the repainted portions show signs of hasty work.
Transcribed Footnote (page 173):

1 It can hardly be wondered at, after so many misfortunes, that Rossetti thought the subject an unlucky one. Summing up the casualties in a letter to Madox Brown he says, “the Proserpine was begun on seven different canvases, to say nothing of drawings. Three were rejected after being brought well forward; the fourth is now with Parsons, and will shortly come back on my hands; the fifth has twice had the glass smashed and renewed; the sixth has had the frame smashed twice and the glass once. It was nearly spoilt in transferring to a fresh strainer, and is now (referring to its arrival in Liverpool) almost destroyed.”

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This is the picture I have selected for reproduction, though both were available for the purpose, and there is not a great deal to choose between them. The “1874” version has been published by Mr. Caswall Smith, who photographed all the Leyland pictures, and the “1877” version by the Autotype Company, to whom I am indebted for the use of the subject. The latter, which is generally known as the Turner picture, is now in the possession of Mr. Charles Butler, of Connaught Place, whilst the former, the Leyland picture, belongs to Mr. Graham Robertson.
In addition to the three main canvases of Proserpine just mentioned, and the earlier, less important one of 1872, which was probably cut up or destroyed, I find some record of a water-colour replica done about 1880, or at any rate in the possession at that time of Mr. James H. Hutton. A small oil replica was included amongst the pictures turned out for Mr. L. R. Valpy in return for the Dante's Dream . This, with a replica of Joan of Arc , was one of the very last pictures that Rossetti worked on, being finished shortly before his death in 1882. It was begun, or in hand, at Keswick, in September, 1881. A crayon replica which used to belong to Mr. Graham is in the possession of Mrs. Horner. There may be others also of which no record has been kept.
In all these pictures of Proserpine the subject is the same. The ravished bride of Pluto is seen standing in a corridor of the hall of Hades, illuminated with a bluish subterranean light, due to one stray moonbeam from on high. In none of the other pictures done from Mrs. Morris do we find so appropriate the distant air of brooding melancholy with which the painter contrived to invest her features. The Queen of the Lower Regions, for all her magnificent beauty, is eating her heart out for thoughts of that girl life in the flower meads of Sicily whence she was snatched away, and holds in her hand, pensively, the pomegranate of which she ate one fatal seed that binds her for ever to her destiny.
The following, with an Italian equivalent also, is the sonnet which Rossetti wrote for Proserpine :



  • “Afar away the light that brings cold cheer
  • Unto this wall,—one instant and no more
  • Admitted at my distant palace door.
  • Afar the flowers of Enna from this drear
  • Dire fruit, which, tasted once, must thrall me here.
  • Afar those skies from this Tartarean grey
  • That chills me: and afar, how far away,
  • The nights that shall be from the days that were.
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Proserpine

Proserpine

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. Signature and date on a scroll lower left: Dante Gabriele Rossetti ritrasse nel capo d'anno del 1877. The artist's sonnet in Italian is inscribed on a label attached to an ivy spray, upper right.Surtees, p. 131. Half length of a woman turned left, holding a half-eated pomegranate in her left hand, her right hand clasping her left wrist. A incense-burner lies on a ledge at lower left.



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  • Afar from mine own self I seem, and wing
  • Strange ways in thought, and listen for a sign:
  • And still some heart unto some soul doth pine,
  • (Whose sounds mine inner sense is fain to bring,
  • Continually together murmuring,)—
  • “Woe's me for thee, unhappy Proserpine!”
Before closing the record of work executed in 1873, which has been carried beyond the limits of the year by the history of the Proserpine pictures, it may be mentioned that Rossetti executed at this time one or more crayon studies for another great picture which was not painted until some years later— The Blessed Damozel , illustrating the subject of his early poem. The finer of these studies was acquired by Mr. Leyland, who exhibited it at Burlington House in 1883. An earlier, but less finished crayon came into the possession of Mr. Graham, and was sold with his collection in 1886. This now belongs to Mr. Gray Hill, of Birkenhead. The picture will be further described with its antecedents under 1877.
The Damsel of the Sanc Grael , painted in 1874 for Mr. Rae, is a very different picture from the little water-colour of 1856-7. There was a delightful simplicity and primitiveness about the latter which accorded as well as anything could with the mediæval sanctity surrounding the subject. When Rossetti came to paint the picture again in his later manner, he represented the austere damsel of the holy mysteries as a handsome girl with flowing chestnut hair, bright lips, and languishing eyes, sumptuously robed in a red gown with a heavily-flowered mantle. Raising one hand in a dainty attitude of admonition, she holds in the other a modern communion chalice, of form certainly less appropriate than the long-stemmed antique cup held by her predecessor. Even the sacred dove, poised above and bearing a golden censer in its beak, affects a graceful pose in harmony with its handmaid. The frame bears a quotation from the “Morte Darthur”: “And there came a dove, and in her bill a little censer of gold, and therewithal there was such a savour as if all the spices of the world had been there. So there came a damozel passing fair and young, and she bore a vessel of gold between her hands.”
In painting this picture Rossetti probably did not seek much beyond mere beauty of form and decoration, in the attainment of which he has succeeded perfectly; and the same may be said in part of a better-known production of the same year, the much-praised Roman Widow . This, also called Dis Manibus from the inscription, represents a Roman lady seated by the marble tomb of her
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Editorial Note (page ornament): On page 176, in the final line of the tombstone inscription, Marillier prints a formee cross between the phrase "Ave Domine" and "Vale Domine".
husband, playing a dirge upon two citherns, and fulfilling the appointed mourning rites. Upon the tomb are carved the words:



  • “Dis Manibus
  • L. Aelio Aquino
  • Marito carissimo
  • Papiria gemina
  • Fecit
  • Ave Domine † Vale Domine.”


The widow is clad in funereal grey, with a soft white veil trailed as Rossetti loved to trail it, the colour being given by the greenish tint of the marbles, the tortoiseshell harp, and the wreath of wild roses which crown it. The model for the face is said to have been Miss Wilding, but I think Mr. William Rossetti must be right in suggesting that it was also inspired by Mrs. Stillman, the original of Fiammetta . The effect is perhaps weakened by a tendency towards the overstrained and exaggerated expression of features mentioned previously. Rossetti, however, admired it, and especially describes in a letter to a friend the “fair luminous colour seeming to melt into the gold frame like a part of it.” He adds, “I fear the picture is too severe and tragic for his taste (Mr. Leyland's, by whom it was commissioned): I don't think Géricault or Regnault would have quite scorned it.” The present owner of the Roman Widow is Mr. Thomas Brocklebank, of Chester.
For convenience of division, and in order to begin the next chapter with pictures dated 1875, I have been including amongst the work done at Kelmscott everything belonging to the previous year, without, however, wishing to assume that all of it was finished there. On this understanding the next three items are also given here, although from their nature they rather suggest a break in the continuity. The first is the large unfinished canvas, painted simply in grisaille, called The Boat of Love , which was begun for Mr. Graham, but abandoned in 1881 owing to a disagreement about terms. The subject is taken from a very well-known sonnet of Dante addressed to Guido Cavalcanti, beginning,Guido vorrei che tu e Lapo ed io, translated as follows in the “Early Italian Poets”:
  • “Guido, I would that Lapo, thou, and I
  • Could be by spells conveyed, as it were now,
  • Upon a barque, with all the winds that blow
  • Across all seas at our good will to hie.
  • So no mischance nor temper of the sky
  • Should mar our course with spite or cruel slip;
  • But we, observing old companionship,
  • To be companions still should long thereby.
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The Damsel of the Sanct                         Grael

The Damsel of the Sanc Grael

Swan Electric Engraving Co.

Figure: Oil. Monogram and date lower right corner: "1874." Half-length figure framed by vine leaves, holding a gold Chalice in her right hand; her left is raised in benediction. The Holy Dove bearing in its beak a censer hovers above her head which is turned three-quarters to left. The head is taken from Alexa z Wilding.Surtees, p. 51



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Roman Widow (Dis Manibus.)

THE ROMAN WIDOW

Figure: Oil. Full length of a seated woman, head tilted right, playing two harps, one in her right arm and one on her left knee. An urn sits in a niche on the wall wreathed with roses: the urn is inscribed: "Dîs Manibus L. Aelio Aquino Marito Carissimo Papiria Gemina Fecit Ave Domine Vale Domine."



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Sig. AA
  • And Lady Joan, and Lady Beatrice,
  • And her the thirtieth on my roll, with us
  • Should our good wizard set, o'er seas to move,
  • And not to talk of anything but love,
  • And they three ever to be well at ease
  • As we should be, I think, if this were thus.”
The idea for the picture was one of Rossetti's very early ones, when he was first under the Dante spell, and he began a small  

The Boat of Love (The Barque                         of Love.)

THE BOAT OF LOVE.

Figure: Oil (monochrome). Inscribed upper left: "Guido vorrei che tu e Lapo ed io." Dante holds Beatrice by both hands and gazes up into her face; behind them Cavalcanti supports Giovanna by the arm. Degli Uberti is seated at the oars, while at the prow Love stands ready to guide the boat.Surtees, p. 137. Numerous figures stand on the dock in upper background.



water-colour of it about 1855. The picture was commissioned ten years before the date we are now dealing with by Mr. Dunlop. Subsequently, in 1867, Mr. Craven desired to have a water-colour of it, but the subject still remained unexecuted when Mr. Leyland commissioned it once more in 1873 on a large scale , and Mr. Graham simultaneously on a smaller one. The unfinished picture, which was bought at Rossetti's sale in 1883 for the Birmingham Corpora-
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tion Art Gallery, seems to have been the Graham one, abandoned for reasons of the kind indicated above.
The water-colour copy of Rosa Triplex , done from Miss May Morris, and so described by Rossetti in a letter to his mother, is dated this year. It has been exhibited as recently as 1892 at the Guildhall, and is now in the possession of Mr. Graham Robertson. The original purchaser was Mr. Craven. A first study in oil, or perhaps a rejected canvas of the central figure in The Blessed Damozel , was painted in 1874, and afterwards presented to Lord Mount Temple by Rossetti. This has a gold background in lieu of the accessories, the maiden having however the stars in her hair and the lily laid along her arm. It is sometimes called Sancta Lilias , a name which is also appropriated to another drawing , done in 1879, of a different subject, which will be found reproduced in the text—perhaps unnecessarily, as it has long been well known in the form of a supplement to a number of the “ Portfolio.”
One more subject dated 1874 I have purposely kept to the end, because it at least is intimately bound up with Kelmscott. This is an oil picture called by a large variety of names— Marigolds , Fleurs de Marie , The Bower Maiden , and The Gardener's Daughter , but representing in actual fact a young girl standing in a room, and reaching up to place a mass of yellow marigolds and lilies in a flower vase upon a high cabinet of inlaid wood. She wears a blue gown with green apron, and round her head a close-fitting cap or hood of dark green velvet. The model is said to have been the gardener's daughter at Kelmscott, a girl who occasionally helped in the house— not that the detail signifies, except as connecting the picture with the place. It is a graceful and pretty little piece of work, declined (perhaps on the score of price) by Mr. Leyland, and purchased for £825 by Mr. William Graham. After the latter's death it was sold with the rest of his collection, the present owner being Lord Davey.
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CHAPTER IX

CLOSE OF THE RECORD. 1874—1882
ONE of the first incidents to be recorded after Rossetti's return to London in 1874 was the dissolution of the partnership of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co., and the re-construction of the firm under the sole management of William Morris. The principal partners besides Morris, as has already been mentioned, were Burne-Jones, Rossetti, Madox Brown, Marshall, Webb, and Faulkner. Brown already cherished a slight grievance that he had not been fairly treated in respect of the commissions for designing windows; and this, coupled with some expectations that his partnership would eventually become profitable, made him extremely averse from entertaining the project of dissolution. On the other hand, Morris had made all the sacrifices for the firm, had sold his pictures and spent his capital for it, organized it, given up his time, and even abandoned the house he had built in order to promote its interests the better. It was natural that he should resent opposition to what he must have regarded as his legitimate reward, especially as he proposed to compensate the more ornamental partners with a money payment based upon valuation of the goodwill. The dissolution was effected, but not without unpleasantness, resulting in the estrangement of Morris and Brown. Rossetti also seems to have become involved on Brown's side, although from his brother's account, based upon existing letters, he did his best to play a conciliatory part. Mr. Mackail's version of the transaction is said by some who were closely involved in it not to be entirely fair to Rossetti, who might have urged, if he had chosen to do so, that his name was one of the best assets that the firm started with, Morris being then comparatively unknown. Mr. Theodore Watts was employed on Madox Brown's behalf, and possibly on Rossetti's as well, to see the negotiations through; and this he did with success, though a breach, as said, unfortunately resulted in the personal friendship of some of
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the leading men concerned. Morris and Rossetti never actually quarrelled; but from 1874 onwards the two men seldom saw each other, Rossetti's recluse habits of life being possibly responsible to some extent for the severance. It was one of the many strange results of the chloral he had taken that at this time and onwards he never was free from the delusion of a widespread conspiracy existing against him. He gave up going out by day, and all his exercise consisted in driving with a friend at night to some secluded spot in Regent's Park, where he took a walk and then returned in the same fashion.
The latter part of 1875 and the first half of 1876 Rossetti spent in a hired house at Bognor, and after that he visited the Cowper-Temples (afterwards Lord and Lady Mount Temple) at Broadlands in Hampshire, being then engaged upon his picture of The Blessed Damozel . It was as a momento of this occasion that the fine oil study of the central figure, mentioned in the previous chapter, was presented to Lord Mount Temple. While he was away from home, Rossetti had the party wall between his studio and the next house padded and built up to double thickness, it being one of his fancies that objectionable noises were made by the neighbours for the purpose of annoying him. After his return, however, his health was better, and he made the experiment for a short time of employing a mesmerist to put him to sleep in place of the noxious drug which had taken such hold upon his nerves.
In 1877 he had a very severe physical illness, due to the uræmic affection which had been set up in 1872, and which eventually was the active cause of his death. The crisis called for an operation, very promptly performed by his attentive friend, Mr. John Marshall, the surgeon; but for two months following Rossetti was confined to bed, before he could be removed to a little cottage at Hunter's Forestal, near Herne Bay, where the members of his family in turn attended him. So much prostrated was he that he seriously gave up all hope of resuming his profession. “At last,” says Mr. William Rossetti, “the power and the determination returned simultaneously; he drew an admirable crayon-group (head and shoulders) of our mother and sister, two others equally good of the latter, and yet another of our mother. Weather had been favourable, spirits and energy revived, and he came back to town nerved once more for the battle of life and of art.” Of the portraits mentioned in this passage, the group of Mrs. and Miss Rossetti is now in the National Portrait Gallery, and is reproduced here. Mr.
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Christina Rossetti

CHRISTINA ROSSETTI. 1866

Figure: Colored