Alternately titled: Lamp of Memory
Alternately titled: Ricordanza

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

1876-1881 (circa)

Physical Description

Medium: oil
Dimensions: 47 1/2 x 23 in.
Frame: The frame bears a two line inscription written by DGR for the work.
Signature: DGR
Date on Image: 1881
Note: Monogram and date in lower left corner.
Other Physical Features: A note by DGR on the physical size of the picture is written in one of his small notebooks.

Production Description

Production Date: 1876-1881 (circa)
Exhibition History: R.A., 1883 (no.315); R.A. Winter, 1906 (no.119)


Current Location: Delaware Art Museum
Archival History: Frederick R. Leyland; Sold at the Leyland sale at Christie's, May 28, 1892 (lot 49) for £325; W. Connal; Blakeslee Galleries, New York, 1908; bought from Agnew in 1916 by the Bancroft Collection, Wilmington Socity of Fine Arts, Delaware

Scholarly Commentary


DGR began this picture sometime early in 1876 as a kind of reprise on his Astarte Syriaca : as he told his mother in a letter of 29 April, “I have twice commenced the Venus Astarte subject. The second commencement is I believe quite a success for me—my best; and the heads are now all fully secured. I have lately been working up as a separate picture the principal head of the first commencement, which, though I was bent on doing it still better for the picture, is by no means a failure. I am making it into another design of head and hands only, to be called Memory, or La Ricordanza which word I suppose (though it might be rather obsolete) is as admissible Italian as ‘Rimembranza’” (Fredeman, Correspondence, 76. 78). By the end of May he was nearing completion and about to order a frame for the painting: as he told Watts-Dunton on 21 May, “I suppose I shall certainly get the frame for La Ricordanza before the end of the coming week. The picture is looking much finer now than when you left, as the moment had just then arrived for thoroughly harmonizing and bringing it together.” (Fredeman, Correspondence, 76. 85, 93). The prospective buyer for the picture was Clarence Fry, but in the end he declined.

The painting remained in DGR's studio until Leyland, expressing an interest in it, (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 81. 46), did finally buy the painting in 1881.


Copyright: © Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial

Included Text

Thou fill'st from the winged chalice of the soul

Thy lamp, O Memory, fire-winged to its goal.
Note: Inscribed on the picture's frame.


  1. image

    Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial , 190.
  2. image

    Gowans and Gray, Masterpieces of DGR , 55.
  3. image

    Radford, Dante Gabriel Rossetti , 50.
  4. image

    Delaware Art Museum print.
  5. image

    Delaware Art Museum print, Val Princep collection.
  6. image

    Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné , vol. 2, plate 392.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: s261.rap.xml