Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1868
Model: Jane Burden Morris
Sources of the Work:
Artist: DGR and John R. Parsons


◦ Bartram, Pre-Raphaelite Photography, 135-136.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 118 (no. 206).

Scholarly Commentary


Comparing the painting with the photograph that was its source, Michael Bartram deplores what he regards as an “exercise in prettification”. The difference is clear and important, but Bartram's valuation misses the point of the extreme finish of DGR's painting. “Prettification” is a regular feature of DGR's work from the early 60s forward. The sinister suggestions that play about these works constellate around various beautiful figures that have been worked to disturbing excess. In the photograph the effect is achieved by exploiting the hard-edged quality of the image and its details—as if the camera were able to expose a reality hidden from the auras pervading ordinary vision. In the oil painting, on the other hand, those auras are dissolved by an opposite stylistic exercise, i.e., by constructing a picture of the auras themselves.

Production History

DGR created this picture from the photographic composition he made in July 1865 with the help of the photographer John R. Parsons. It is one of the photographs gathered together in 1933 by Gordon Bottomly into an album of photographs of Jane Morris.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s206.raw.xml