Desdemona's Death–Song (unfinished head)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

1879–1881 (circa)

Physical Description

Medium: oil on canvas grounded with Indian red (cut from larger canvas)
Dimensions: 17 x 15 1/2 in.

Production Description

Production Date: 1879–1881 (circa)
Exhibition History: National Trust 1949–1953 (no.57)


Current Location: William E. Fredeman
Archival History: W.M. Rossetti; Mrs. H. Rossetti Angeli; William E. Fredeman 1963

Scholarly Commentary


Fredeman recounts the wartime misfortunes of this painting: “When the family home at 3 St. Edmund's Terrace, [sic] was damaged by bombs during the war, Mrs. Angeli and Imogen [Dennis] went up to London from Barnstable, hired fourteen taxis, rescued her invalid sister, Mary, and took away as much as they could of the contents of the house. From the four unfinished Rossetti oils in the basement, including my Desdemona, she removed the heads with a butcher knife. That night there was a direct hit on the house and whatever remained was destroyed” (Fredeman, “The Great Pre-Raphaelite Paper Chase,” 14).



  1. image

    Benedetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 333.
  2. image

    McGowan, John P., "The Bitterness of Things Occult" Victorian Poetry, 20.3-4/Autumn-Winter 1982: 45-64.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: s254h.rap.xml