A Christmas Carol

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1857 December; 1857-1858
Subject: “A young woman in red, with the face of Elizabeth Siddal, having her hair combed out by two attendants, is seated in the centre facing to front, playing a clavichord decorated on two panels with scenes of the Annunciation and Nativity; and hung with sprigs of green foliage; holly trees in red barrels stand to the left and right against a wall of bright blue tiles; a black and gold tapestry hangs behind the central figure and falls to form a carpet beneath her feet” ( Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, I. 55.
Model: Elizabeth Siddal


◦ Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial, 82.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 55-56 (no. 98).

Scholarly Commentary

Production History

Executed in late 1857 and exhibited at the Liverpool Academy in 1858, the picture was bought in mid-1859 by James Leathart for 80 guineas. DGR told Leathart it was one of the best watercolours he had ever done and advised him that “to be seen favorably [it] ought to be hung with the light from the left i.e. of the spectator—that being the light in which they were painted.” (see Fredeman, Correspondence 59. 28; 59. 30).


The picture should not be confused with the later (1867) oil painting of the same title. Its relation to The Blue Closet, however, is notable.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s98.raw.xml