Double Sonnet to the Painter D. G. Rossetti, Suggested by his Picture “The Girlhood of Mary Virgin”

John Orchard

General Description

Date: 1849 August
Rhyme: abbaacacdefdefbggbbggbhijhij
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: double sonnet

Scholarly Commentary


Orchard's double-sonnet on DGR's first significant picture, The Girlhood of Mary Virgin, was written as a kind of commentary-review of the work following its appearance in March 1849 at the Hyde Park Gallery's Free Exhibition. The sonnets show clearly that DGR's translation work, begun a few years earlier on deucento and trecento Italian poetry, had influenced Orchard: this kind of poetical commentary on the work of a contemporary poet or artist was a staple form among the poets DGR was translating. Orchard's double-sonnet should be compared with DGR's own pair of sonnets written the year before when DGR was still at work on the painting. Orchard must surely have seen these poems

Two manuscripts of the work survive: Orchard's holograph in the library of the South African National Gallery and WMR's copy in the Angeli Papers at the University of British Columbia.

Textual History: Composition

Written around 19 August 1849, as WMR notes in his PRB Journal for 20 August (see Fredeman, Journal of the P. R. B., 12 ).

Printing History

First published from the U. of British COlumbia manuscript in Fredeman, Journal of the P. R. B., 200 .

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: orchard003.raw.xml