Dinah Roe

'Proserpina', by Dante Gabriel Rossetti: (Analysis Part 2)

Biographical Context Critics have made much of this sonnet’s biographical context, and indeed, it is worth noting that Rossetti was in love with the picture’s model, Jane, wife of William Morris. It is not a stretch to imagine that Rossetti’s interest in a goddess who is sometimes permitted to escape the clutches of her underworld husband had its roots in the painter’s personal feelings. Rossetti was not the subtlest of artists, or of men, and it is right in character for him to mythologize his affair in this way. However, this picture continues to fascinate because it engages with themes of desire and distance suggestive of something more profound and less particular than a Kelmscott Manor ménage à trois. This analysis will therefore concentrate on the literary and pictorial aspects of this artwork. For more on this picture’s biographical background and production history, see the Rossetti Archive.

Read More

Pre-Raphaelites in the City

Subscribe to the blog

This blog explores the thriving Victorian cities which inspired the Pre-Raphaelites, and were shaped by them in turn. While the Pre-Raphaelites produced poetry and art praising the natural world, most were born and raised in urban environments, and their work retained a cosmopolitan sensibility. Although this blog will sometimes take excursions into the countryside, its focus will remain on city life. If you want more information on images or sources, please get in touch.

All Tags

aestheticism algernon charles swinburne alma-tadema america birmingham bonhams brompton cemetery chelsea fc christina rossetti christmas eve dante gabriel rossetti david bowie edgar allan poe raven edward burne-jones elizabeth siddal emily dickinson exhibitions florence and the machine ford madox brown frank cadogan cowper frederick leyland gabriel rossetti geffrye museum henry wadsworth longfellow holman hunt illustration in an artist's studio in the bleak midwinter in the news jane morris jk rowling john everett millais john gielgud john keats jophn everett millais leighton house lizzie siddal maria rossetti mary wollstonecraft music poems poetry poetry analysis poetry workshop pre-raphaelite pre-raphaelite brotherhood pre-raphaelite childhood pre-raphaelite conference pre-raphaelite design punch & judy queen victoria rip van winkle rossetti chair rossetti poems rossettis serena trowbridge spring quiet television tennyson the cuckoo's calling the germ thomas woolner valentine prinsep victorian obsession virginia woolf walter deverell william morris william rossetti william waterhouse winter: my secret winter my secret