Maria Rossetti's commentary on Dante was accepted for publication by Rivington in April 1871, after being refused by two other publishers. Rivington requested that DGR design the cover, which he did, though his design drastically simplified his brother's initial ideas for the binding as he set them down in his diary: "It appears to me that a good design would be to have two wings below; and in the centre a flaming sword: thus symbolizing Paradise, Hell, and Purgatory. I made a sketch of this in the course of the evening with apprpropriate mottoes inscribed;; also for the back cover a Florence iris, and for the back of the volume a cross atop, and at the lower end a font with bay-wreath, with ‘Ed a quel fonte’ inscribed; alluding to Dante's expressed wish to receive the wreath of poetry at his baptismal font. The mottoes for the front cover are ‘Mentre che i primi bianchi aperser l'ali’—‘Non avean penne ma di pipistrello’—‘Ed una spada nuda aveva in mano’” (
Bornand, Diary of W. M. Rossetti 1870-1873, 57
, entry for 23 April 1871).