Venus Verticordia (study)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Physical Description

Medium: red chalk
Dimensions: 30 1/2 x 24 3/8 in.

Production Description

Production Date: 1863
Exhibition History: B.F.A.C. 1883, (no.69)
Patron: William Graham
Date Commissioned: 1863-1869


Current Location: The Faringdon Collection Trustees, Buscot Park, Berkshire
Archival History: William Graham; Christie's sale April 3, 1886 (lot 99), £130; Lord Faringdon

Scholarly Commentary


This is a finished study for the painting as DGR conceived it originally. The text of the sonnet—the text published in the Notes on the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1868—is inscribed within the picture on a label in the upper right. DGR removed this in the finished oil.

Production History

Begun in 1863, the picture was not completed until 1869.


Venus Verticordia (study)
Copyright: ©The Faringdon Collection Trustees, Buscot Park, Faringdon

Included Text

  • She hath it in her hand to give it thee,
  • Yet almost in her heart would hold it back;
  • She muses, with her eyes upon the track
  • Of that which in thy spirit they can see.
  • Haply, “Behold, he is at peace,” saith she:
  • “Alas! the apple for his lips,—the dart
  • That follows its brief sweetness to his heart—
  • The wandering of his feet perpetually!”
  • A little space her glance is still and coy;
  • But if she give the fruit that works her spell, 10
  • 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.
Note: DGR's sonnet is inscribed on a label hanging at upper right. This version of the sonnet varies from the original text. The title is written on the balustrade in the lower center of the picture


  1. image

    Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné , plate 249.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: s173b.rap.xml