Alternately titled: Bower Maiden
Alternately titled: Fleurs de Marie
Alternately titled: Gardener's Daughter

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1873
Model: “Little Annie” (In a letter to his mother of February 23, 1874, DGR identified her as “a niece of the Cumleys” ( Fredeman, Correspondence, 74.36 ))


◦ Fredeman, Correspondence, 73.134, 74.21, 74.26, 74.36.

◦ Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial, 178.

◦ Sharp, DGR: A Record and a Study, 233-234.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 134 (no. 235).

Scholarly Commentary


William Sharp admired this picture, on which he made an elaborate commentary. Particularly noteworthy is the following remark: “I have heard it spoken of as one of his few modern paintings, but while not of necessity belonging to any definite period it undoubtedly assimilates much more to earlier periods than the nineteenth-century”. The comment suggests that Sharp is following DGR's own view of the picture when he compared it to the Veronica Veronese: “I shall call the picture either Spring Marybuds or The Bower Maiden. It represents a young girl (fair) in a tapestried chamber, with a jar containing marybuds (or marsh marigolds, the earliest spring flowers here), which she is arranging on a shelf. Near her is a cat playing with a ball of worsted. The picture abounds in realistic materials & is much like the Veronica in execution & not inferior to that picture in colour. I never made a pen-&-ink sketch of it—the whole depending, like Veronica, on direct painting from nature—thus I cannot send you a sketch to look at: but you would be quite certain to like the picture & it would be a general favorite. Its size is 44¼ x 28.” (see DGR's letter to Leyland of January 31, 1874, in Fredeman, Correspondence, 74.21 ).

Production History

In his January letter DGR told Frederick Leyland that he had executed this picture “last spring”. Leyland declined the picture but it was bought in February by William Graham, as DGR told Treffry Dunn in a letter of February 9 (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 73.134 and 74.21 and 74.26 ).

A letter to DGR's mother written from Kelmscott on May 20, 1873 indicates the likely date of the work: “The apple blossom in our orchard has been in full glory and is still delicious, and everything is most lovely. I shall try if I can pack you a bouquet safely to Euston Square today, including wild flowers—especially the yellow mary-buds (or marsh marigolds) which are most splendid in the fields wherever the floods have been most persistent” (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 73.134 and 74.21 ).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s235.raw.xml