Fra Pace

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1856
Subject: “A monk illuminating at his desk, absorbed in the drawing of a dead mouse which he is doing from nature” (Surtees).


◦ Bentley, “Seroux D'Agincourt's Histoire as a Possible Point of Departure for Two Pictures by Dante Gabriel Rossetti” (2002), 33-42

◦ Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial, 72.

◦ WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 25

◦ Sharp, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 155

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 143-44 (no. 80).

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 2, plate 94.

Scholarly Commentary


Of all the arresting early watercolours, this is the only one that brings a comic note into the pictorial idea. The picture is typically Rossettian in the clear intellectual interest that dominates. The monk is represented as a liminal figure, immured in his medieval religious condition, but at the same time occupied with and absorbed in his study from nature. It is difficult not to see the monk as a figure of DGR's own self-reflection, almost literally a mirror-image.

Production History

Surtees notes that Rossetti was working on this painting at Chatham Place when Edward Burne-Jones visited him early in 1856. Surtees also records a legend circulated in the family of the drawing's present owners in which Burne-Jones is said to have painted the mouse .


The picture makes a clear allusion to Dürer's St. Jerome in his Study.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s80.raw.xml