Mary in the House of St. John

Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Physical Description

Medium: watercolour
Dimensions: 18 x 14 in.
Signature: monogram
Date on Image: 1858
Note: Monogram and date at lower right.

Production Description

Production Date: 1858
Exhibition History: Hogarth Club, 1859; R.A., 1883 (no.369); Art Nouveau Exhibition , Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1960; Watercolours in American Collections , American Federation of Arts, Travelling Exhibition, 1961-63; Indianapolis and Hungtington Hartford, 1964 (no.55); R.A., 1973 (no.113); Baden-Baden, 1973-74 (no.120); Yale, 1976 (no.41)
Patron: Lady Pauline Trevelyan
Date Commissioned: 1858 (circa)
Original Cost: 100 guineas
Model: Ruth Herbert
Note: Ruth Herbert was the model for Mary.
Model: H. W. Fisher
Note: The model for the head of St. John is reported to be H. W. Fisher, the father of H. A. L. Fisher, former Warden of New College, Oxford.


Current Location: Wilmington Society of Fine Arts, Delaware (the Bancroft Collection)
Catalog Number: 47-8
Archival History: Lady Pauline Trevelyan; R. E. Loft; Purchased by Mary Garrett circa 1885; bequeathed in 1915 to M. Carey Thomas, President Emeritus of Bryn Mawr College, PA, who in turn bequeathed it to Bryn Mawr College. In 1947 the work was sold to the Wilmington Society for the Fine Arts for the Bancroft Collection.

Scholarly Commentary


Of the two finished watercolours, this is often considered the better. DGR himself regarded it as “the more finished” of the two (the other he said was “the more forcible” (quoted in Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné , vol. 1, 67).

Production History

This was the first of the versions of the picture that DGR completed (in 1858). He had begun work on the subject in 1856 when he made a drawing for the watercolour commissioned by Ellen Heaton. But he seems not to have finished the Heaton picture until the year after this version for Lady Trevelyan. DGR exhibited the picture at the Hogarth Club in January 1859 (see George Boyce's diary entry for January 3, 1859).


  • Elzea, Bancroft and Related Pre-Raphaelite Collections, 106-107.
  • Grieve, Art of DGR: Watercolors and Drawings, 33-35.
  • Marillier, An Illustrated Memorial , 99-100.
  • Sharp, DGR: A Record and a Study, 162-163.
  • Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné , vol. 1, 65-67 (no. 110).
  • Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné , vol. 2, plate 154.
  • Surtees, Diaries of George Price Boyce, 25.
Mary in the House of St. John
Copyright: © Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial


  1. image

    Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné , vol. 2, plate 154.
  2. Elzea, Bancroft and Related Collections, 107.

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Electronic Archive Edition: 1
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