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Born on this day; Gabriel Dante Rossetti

12th May 2020

Born on this day in 1882, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (born Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti) a British poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He’s perhaps remained best known, alongside his art, for co-founding the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood along with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was one of the most influential movements of it’s day and remains not only as an influence in art today but also, as a period in history that remains to describe a whole group of artists united by a set of ideas and a great love of art.

The Brotherhood was founded in 1848 and in it’s second generation, included well known figures on this blog; William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Rossetti was a huge influence for both and was a main reason for their joining the Brotherhood.

Education

He originally wanted to be a poet and went to King’s College School in London, but also had a talent and passion for painting. Hi sister Christina Rossetti did go on to be a poet; you’ll know her from a few of her works I assume, but particularly, “In the Bleak Midwinter.” (It was later set to music into our famous Christmas carol.) Back to Dante, he went on to study at Henry Sass’ Drawing Academy from 1841 – 1845. Then the Antique School of the Royal Academy. He then went on to study under Ford Madox Brown; they had a close lifelong friendship.

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

To explain the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, we can go ahead and let William Michael Rossetti, Dante’s brother do that for us. He summarised four declarations in an early doctrine as a statement of intent.

  1. To have genuine ideas to express
  2. To study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them
  3. To sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self- parading and learned by rote.
  4. Most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.

Victorian Menagerie

One random fact we love about Rossetti that could only (or should we say, should only) be a part of the Victorian era was his eccentric menagerie. He had kangaroos, wallabies, armadillos, a raccoon and larger animals such as a zebu. He even is known to have discussed the potential of having an African elephant with Charles Jamrach. Jamrach was a leading dealer in wildlife, birds and shells in 19th century London. He’s also a fascinating read if you have time. All of this, in a garden in Chelsea!

His wombat is something that’s been well recorded about Rossetti, seemingly because of his affection for it. In writing to his brother he described it as, “a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness.” He named it “Top” after Morris who had the nickname, “Topsy.” Rather horribly, Top didn’t live long in England and died November 1869, after which, Rossetti had him stuffed and he was displayed in the entrance to the house. We mention the poor animal’s death because Rossetti’s self portrait mourning Top is a hugely famous piece of Rossetti’s work.

Personal Life

In 1860, he married Elizabeth Siddal (Lizzie) who was a Pre-Raphaelite model and one of his favourite muses. He even banned any other artists from using her as their model. She passed away in 1862 from an overdose of laudanum and afterwards, Rossetti increasingly spiralled into depression. Rossetti is well known for having a long lasting affair with Jane Morris – William Morris’s wife. This obviously caused great pain to Morris.

He held great influence within the artistic circles of the time. He remains a great influence amongst both artists and writers today. He was pioneering in his ideals, there’s just too much about him to fit into one blog! There was no shortage of eccentricities in his life and we encourage you to read more into his life and menagerie; it always really captures our imagination to think of the Victorian menageries, does it you?

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A William Morris fabric stack 😍 What would you make from our licensed William Morris floral fabrics? 🪡🧵
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We hope you’re having a lovely Easter 🐣 Choccy treats galore with some beautiful Morris florals, what more could we want! 🌷🤍
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#williammorris #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrisfabric #floraldesign #tablescapestyling #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #preraphaelite #floral
Morris fan? There’s 15% off our entire collection of licensed William Morris fabrics and products, this Easter weekend only! 🐣 Use code: EASTER15 at checkout, on our website only, until Monday at midnight 🌙 Enjoy this Easter treat from us! 🤍
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We love all the beautiful spring florals this time of year 🌷 We’ve also not been able to resist starting early on the Easter treats! 🐣
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Introducing Daisy, our latest William Morris licensed design 🌿 Daisy was the second wallpaper William Morris designed, but the first to be produced in 1864, so it remains a special design to every Morris fan ✨ It must have been a favourite of Morris himself, as embroideries of Daisy were used to decorate at the stunning Red House, Morris's home in Bexleyheath. 
We hope you love Daisy as much as we do! Available now on our website, in a limited range of products, fabric is coming soon! ☺️
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A fabric stack of William Morris floral dreams 🤍
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Spring floral ready with our William Morris Willow Bough table setting 🌿 Do your weekend plans also revolve around tea/coffee and baked goods? 🤍
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Monday done right, laying the table with our beautiful licensed William Morris Willow Bough green tablecloth, completed with a @bettys treat 🥰 
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A little fabric stack of our William Morris florals, waiting to be crafted into a project 🪡 Can you name them all from the little peak? 🌿 
All our fabrics are printed in the UK and are licensed William Morris designs, printed both size and colour wise to our own specification ✨ If you’d like a sample, just send us a message 📬
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Showcasing our licensed William Morris Lily fabric, it’s so light and bright it’s making us excited for Spring! 🌿
Designed by William Morris in 1874, it incorporates the willow background with lilies and wild flowers ✨ The design must have been well loved by Morris himself- it was the wallpaper he used to decorate his bedroom at Kelmscott Manor, his home in Lechlade, Gloucestershire 🌿
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Thrilled with our reupholstered chair, brought back to life with our heavyweight William Morris Willow Bough Green 🌿 It’s amazing what a pop of colour and a floral will do to a room 🤍 If you fancy learning how we did this upcycle, we’ll write a blog on it ☺️ 
& if you’re in the UK and would like a sample of any of our fabrics, please let us know 📮
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The different weights of fabric 🧵 We have four weights of fabrics; cotton, heavyweight, drill and pvc, all work well for different projects. For a free sample, please feel free to message us and we’ll get them sent out to you 📮
✨ For our 100% cotton, it’s great for quilting, dress making and more, our lightest weight of cotton
✨ Our heavyweight cotton is perfect for curtains and light upholstery, a heavier fabric than our 100% cotton 
✨ Our drill cotton fabric is our heaviest weave fabric, suitable for light upholstery 
✨ Our PVC is our pvc/oilcloth coated cotton fabric, brilliant as a table covering, it’s sold by the half metre and as it won’t fray, is great to put straight on the table 🌿

The cotton, heavyweight and drill cotton are all 152cm wide and the pvc fabric is 140cm wide. All are sold by the half metre 📏
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In January when the Christmas sparkles come down, we’ve got to bring out even more Morris florals to make sure the house still feels sparkly and beautiful ✨ if you’re also looking to revamp any of the home and looking for a licensed William Morris design for a pop of colour, get in touch for any samples so you can choose which works in your home 🤍
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Our blue Strawberry Thief oven gloves are back in stock, just in time for Christmas! 🎄 will you be gifting some Morris floral magic this year? Or hope to be receiving some! 🎁 Our matching sets of kitchenware and tableware are very popular this time of year, remember if you’re sending direct to your loved one, you can select for the items to be gift wrapped at checkout on our website! 🌟
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Our Black Friday sale is now live! 🥂 On our website only, use code, BLACKFRIDAY10 all weekend for 10% off your order ☺️ Ends Sunday at midnight 🌙
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Dreaming of the sunshine 💭 This is our smallest size of tote bag, in our licensed William Morris Strawberry Thief, on this bike ride we were pretty happy that it was filled to the brim with snacks to eat on the beach ☀️ On Wintery nights we love to look back on the sunshine! ☁️
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We're so thrilled our new website is now live! 🌿Just in time for Christmas shopping, it's much easier to use, and still full of beautiful licensed William Morris designs on every page! We hope you like the change, especially where lots of you are featured on the new 'inspiration' page! 🌟 We absolutely love that it showcases everyones tablescapes and craft projects, just click on them to see the design and who posted the photo so you can see more of their content ☺️ If you're happy for us to use your photos, just send us a message, we'd love it to be a page we can keep adding to throughout the seasons 🪴
Special thank you to @adigi_agency for creating our website, we love it! 🤍
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