FAQs

Your Cart

Close
Paper Plane Your order qualifies for free standard delivery
Subtotal £0.00
Delivery £0.00
Order Total £0
Checkout Securely

On this day in 1882: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

9th April 2018

The wonderful Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti died on this day in 1882. Born Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti, he was a British poet, illustrator, painter and translator.

It was in 1848 that he, along with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, one of the most influential movement of it’s day – indeed it’s influence can still  be seen in art today. In the second generation of artists that joined the Brotherhood, including William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, it was Rossetti who was their main inspiration with their art and who attracted them to the Pre-Raphealites.

Like his sibling, Christina Rossetti, he aspired to be a poet and he went to King’s College School in London and also had a dream of becoming a painter. Studying at Henry Sass’ Drawing Academy from 1841 to 1845 he also enrolled in the Antique School of the Royal Academy, leaving in 1848. After this, he studied under Ford Madox Brown – who he had a close friendship with all throughout his life. 

The Brotherhood’s early doctrines, defined by William Micheal Rossetti (Dante’s brother) were summarised by four declarations:

  1. to have genuine ideas to express;
  1. to study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them;
  2. 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; and
  1. most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.

 

In Rossetti’s eccentric menagerie he had kangaroos, wallabies, armadillos, a racoon and larger animals such as a zebu, he was even discussing an African elephant with Charles Jamrach (a leading dealer in wildlife, birds and shells in 19th century London.) Whilst now this seems crazy for a garden in Chelsea, it wasn’t uncommon for those in high society to own their own menagerie.

When his own wombat arrived, he described it as a “a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness” in a letter to his brother. He named the wombat Top, named after Morris’s nickname ‘Topsy.’ Morris acquired this nickname after a character in Uncle Tom’s Cabin due to his nervous disposition and wild temper which when enraged could lead to seizures and blackouts. Rossetti was well known in his taunting of Morris to amuse himself and their friends when he got angry and flew into a rage.

Top didn’t live a long life, only lasting in England a few months and dying in November 1869, following the Wombat’s death, Rossetti had him stuffed and displayed in the entrance to his house. His self portrait mourning the loss of Top is a famous piece of work of Rossetti’s.

Death of a Wombat” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
1869 November 6 (Public Domain)

Jane Morris came to the attention of Rossetti and the pre-Raphaelites in 1857 when they wanted her to model for their art. She married 1859 she married William Morris, but shortly after began a long affair with Rossetti. Sharing a deep emotional attachment, Morris and Rossetti’s relationship was the source of many of Rossetti’s mid-to-late paintings, regarded by many as being among the best of his career. He thought her to be the ideal Pre-Raphaelite beauty and was by all accounts, madly in love with her.

He married Elizabeth Siddal in 1860, another Pre-Raphaelite model and one of his muses. He even banned anyone else from using her as their model in their art. She died from an overdose of laudanum in 1862, shortly after giving birth to a stillborn child. Heartbroken, Rossetti became increasingly depressed and buried many of his unpublished poems with her at Highgate Cemetery – though later ordering them to be dug up.

A man who held great influence with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who still today has an influence on writers and painters, Rossetti was enormously talented and was forward thinking and pioneering with his ideals. There was no shortage of eccentricities in his incredible life and we hugely recommend you having a more in depth read about his life – especially on his menagerie, it always captures our imagination that there was stores like Jamrach’s in the 19th Century!

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Related Articles

Post Title

The Penfold Pillarbox in Buxton

  JW Penfold (1828-1909) was an architect and surveyor who designed many important buildings, including many prestige architectural projects, but he is most famous for...

Post Title

Stained Glass in York Minster

William Morris studied the ancient cathedrals such as York and Lincoln and knew the methods that the medieval craftsmen had used.  He particularly studied the...

Post Title

A Closer Look: William Morris Trellis

In November 1862, Morris designed Trellis. One of our all time favourite William Morris designs, isn't it funny to think that 158 years later, it's...

Lazy Sunday mornings 💤 our William Morris Strawberry Thief tablecloths are now back in stock in all sizes if you fancy adding some floral magic to your table ✨ Hope you all have a lovely Sunday! 🩷
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #strawberythief #victorianartist #victorian #preraphaelite #preraphaeliteart #morris
We’re going to have to look at this English summer through our rose coloured specs we think and set the table summery despite the rain!☔️🩷 We thought this made the perfect table setting; a bouquet with blooms out the garden wrapped in a Daisy napkin cone, doesn’t it look great! 🫶🏻 We’re going to put a small bunch at everyone’s seat and then they can take them home to enjoy at their houses 🌿
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #strawberrythief #napkins #floraldesign #florals #floraltabledecor #tablescape #daisy
✨ It’s the last day for 20% off our whole website! ✨ Use code: floralsummer at checkout on our website today only! 🫶🏻
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabricstack #fabricstash #floralfabric #florals #victorianart #preraphaelite
We’re thinking of selling our William Morris Daisy fabric by the half metre 🫶🏻 It’s a much narrower fabric than our usual fabrics, but we’ve had some customers interested in it in cotton and heavyweight for projects such as upholstery, curtain and dress making and quilting projects, what do you all think? ✨🌿
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #daisy #fabricstack #fabricstash #quiltingfabric #quiltingcotton
✨✨ Offer extended ✨✨ We forgot to give you warning that our 20% off code was expiring and we thought it would brighten up some rainy July days, so now until the 14th July, take 20% off our website using code: FLORALSUMMER ☂️ 
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #floralfabric #fabricstack #strawberrythief #yorkshirebusiness #independantbusiness #florals #floraldesigner #victoriandesign
Cut this wonderful fabric stack yesterday 🫶🏻 All these beautiful Morris florals together in our heavyweight fabrics 🪡🧵
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabrics #fabricdestashuk #fabricstack
Our biggest summer sale alert! ‼️ Fancy 20% off our entire website?✨ Including our timeless Morris Strawberry Thief licensed design and everything else in our collection, just use code; floralsummer at checkout, hurry, it ends on the 7th July 🫶🏻
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisdesigns #strawberrythief #preraphaelites #victoriandesign #madeinengland #printedintheuk #summersale
One of our favourite Morris quotes 🫶🏻
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #morris #willowbough #quotes #quotestagram #quotestoliveby #quotes #floral #floraldesign
Enjoying peony season with some fresh blooms 🫶🏻
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #willowbough #peonies #peony #florals #floraldesign #florallove
Breakfast featuring Strawberry Thief taking pictures whilst waiting for the toast to pop! 🍓
•
•
•
#williammorrisdesign #williammorris #williammorrisfabric #fabric #fabrics #strawberrythief #strawberrythiefprint #victoriandesign #victorian #tablescapes #tablesettings #floraltable #floraltablescape
Can’t go on holidays without our Strawberry Thief windbreak to huddle behind! ⛱️ We upcycled this using the posts from our old one, if you’ve got one hanging about the garden shed, the how-to is on our blog so you can craft your own using our William Morris fabrics that we sell by the half metre 🫶🏻
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #upcycle #upcycledfurniture #upcycleproject #windbreaker #beachcraft #crafting #fabricstash #strawberrythief
Bertie’s been loving Bridgerton and thought he’d pose with the wisteria wearing his Daisy cravat 😉
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #daisy #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #fabrics #williammorristextiles #preraphaelite #preraphaelitebrotherhood #fabricstore #bridgerton
When the audio accurately sums up how you feel about a design 🫶🏻 Beautiful Sweet Briar was first designed in 1912, we love the sweet little pink flowers in the climbing rose stems 🌹 This licensed Morris design is now back in stock, let us know if you’d like a sample! ✨
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #fabricstash #ukfabric #ukprinting #floralfabric #preraphaelite #floraldesign #floraldesigner
Our William Morris Willow Bough green placemats are now back in stock! ✨ They’re a beautiful addition to the table for every meal time 🫶🏻
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #placemats #tablescape #floraltable #preraphaelite #floralhome
🌷 William Morris month day 30 🌷 As we come near the end of Morris month, we’re celebrating with a fabric stack, full of beautiful licensed designs, which is your fave? 🌿 “Remember that a pattern is either right or wrong. It cannot be forgiven for blundering, as a picture may be which has otherwise great qualities in it. It is with a pattern as with a fortress, it is no stronger than its weakest point.”- William Morris 🤍 
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #floralfabric #floralfabrics #fabricstack #fabricstash #fabricstore #onlinefabrics #ukfabricsonline #independantbusiness