Binding Design: A Shadow of Dante (1871)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Physical Description

Medium: Plain, smooth plum-red cloth boards. Design blocked in gold on upper cover and spine.
Dimensions: 7 3/5 x 5 2/5 in.

Production Description

Production Date: 1871


Current Location: British Museum

Scholarly Commentary


This design for Maria Rossetti's book came from a drawing originally made by WMR. It employs more explicitly symbolic devices than DGR was inclined to use, and most have regarded it as much less satisfactory than any of the designs DGR initiated. According to WMR, “My brother put the sketch into some presentable stage; and Mr. Dunn made the elegantly executed drawings from which the binders worked” (see WMR, Family Letters , vol. 2, 231).

The design shows “an encircled Florentine iris, with angel and devil wings in the upper and lower outer corners, balanced on the inside by a small star (top) and flame (bottom)—with paired and reversed half wings on the spine” (see Fredeman,“Woodman, Spare that Block”, 31).


  • Fredeman,“Woodman, Spare that Block”, 7-41.
  • Grieve,“Applied Art 2”, 79-83.
  • WMR, Family Letters , vol. 2, 231.
  • DGR: Painter and Poet, Birmingham, 1973, 58-59 (nos. 231 and 235).
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: sa126.rap.xml