Bethlehem Gate

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1863
Subject: “The Holy Family escaping by night from the massacre of the Innocents through Bethlehem city gate. They are led by an angel bearing a palm; a second angel closes the heavy gate against the massacre already begun” (Surtees 89).
Model: William Morris (The head of Joseph resembles that of William Morris.)


◦ Fredeman, Correspondence, 62.35, 62.38

◦ Surtees, Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 89 (no. 159).

Scholarly Commentary

Production History

The oil painting is dated 1863 but it is clear that DGR had completed his design for the work—which had been commissioned by Ellen Heaton—by May 1862 (see Correspondence 62.35). Browning saw a version of the work, perhaps even an early state of the oil, in June 1862 (Correspondence 62.38) and was “really much pleased”.


There is some reason to believe that a stained glass window may have been made on the subject.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s159.raw.xml