In this post, Norma continues her project and shares her latest discovery from the visitors books.
Rossetti was born on 12 May 1828 at 38 Charlotte Street, Portland Place, London, the second child of Gabriele Rossetti, a political refugee from Abruzzi, Italy and Frances Polidori Rossetti, a governess whose father Gaetono Polidori, from Tuscany, had married an English woman.
Along with fellow artists William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, Rossetti founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. He was a prolific poet as well as painter and often created poems to accompany his images and art to illustrate poems. For example he illustrated the poem ‘Goblin Market’ by his sister Christina Rossetti.
On 9 January 1860 Rossetti accompanied by his muse and lover Eleanor Elizabeth (Lizzie) Siddal visited the Birthplace and signed the Visitors’ Book. Having, some years ago, entered the names of visitors at the Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick on to a data base (now at Warwick County Record Office) I was aware that they had visited there on 23 December 1859 and signed the book in similar fashion. It is thought that they were enjoying a walking holiday in the county.
Lizzie Siddal had been discovered working in a hat shop and was adopted by the brotherhood as the ideal of feminine beauty and as such became the model for many of their works. Probably the best known being that of Ophelia painted by Millais in 1852. However she soon became the exclusive model for Rossetti and appeared in almost all his paintings during the 1950s.
Rossetti and Lizzie lived together for many years prior to their marriage on 23 May 1860 at St. Clements Church, Hastings. On 2 May 1861 she gave birth to a stillborn child and in February the following year died after taking an overdose of laudanum. The coroner declared it an accidental death and she was buried in Highgate West Cemetery, London. The grief stricken husband interred the sole manuscript of his original poems in her coffin.
He continued painting until his own death twenty years later. During this period his models and muses were Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris.
Rossetti died on 14 April 1882 and was buried in the All Saints Parish Churchyard at Birchington-on-Sea.
A memorial window was designed by
Frederic Shields and a memorial cross on his grave by Ford Madox Brown.
Note : Eleanor Elizabeth Siddal (25 July 1829 – 11 February 1862) was an influential artist and poet in her own right. Collections of her work can be found at Wightwick Manor and the Ashmolean in Oxford.
Wikipedia : D. G. Rossetti,
Ancestry :BMD Index
Faxon, Alicia Craig, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Phaidon Press, Oxford, 1989