The Rocking-Horse

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1834


◦ Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial, 6.

◦ WMR, Memoir, I. 41-42

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 1 (no. 1).

Scholarly Commentary


Of this drawing, which remains in the family, Surtees writes: “Earliest recorded drawing, made at the age of six. A milkman coming upon the child sitting in the passage of 38 Charlotte Street sketching his rocking-horse, testified his surprise at having seen a ‘baby making a picture’” (Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 1 (no. 1)). The date originates with DGR's mother, who marked it on the drawing. WMR, who is the source of all the information we have about the picture, doubted that this was the drawing observed by the milkman. He goes on to remark that “in his childhood and boyhood he seldom made any attempt at drawing from any real object, but only ‘out of his own head’”—a comment that has relevance for all of DGR's work, even those pictures that are literally from the life. WMR's doubt arises from the relatively finished quality of the drawing which “comes so near to being pretty tolerably good that I find some difficulty in conceiving that he had never before taken pencil in hand” (see WMR, Memoir, I. 41-42 ).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s1.raw.xml