Monna Vanna

Rossetti frequently used Alexa Wilding as a model. Tall and voluptuous, she appears in some of his most beautiful works. She is The Blessed Damozel, although she is frequently misidentified in that painting as Elizabeth Siddal. In Monna Vanna, Rossetti has cast Alexa in the role of a vain beauty. Her large-sleeved, opulent gown is … Read more

Fanny Cornforth’s Earrings

Admittedly, my interest in the Pre-Raphaelites borders on the obsessive.  One of my favorite indulgences is searching for repetitive details, like these earrings: It’s a small thing to notice and I’m sure that the actual earrings themselves don’t hold any real significance other than they belonged to Fanny Cornforth.  But small details like this excite … Read more

Image of the Week: Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves , Sir John Everett Millais. Models: Millais’ sisters-in-law modeled for two of the girls, the other two were local girls, who also appeared in Millais’ painting The Blind Girl. John Ruskin, who incidentally has previously been married to the artist’s wife Effie Millais, wrote about Autumn Leaves, saying: “by much the most poetical work the artist … Read more

The Impossible Mirror of Lady Lilith

I’ve mentioned my love of mirror paintings before: Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus, Viola, Photograph of Fanny Cornforth, Seeking out mirrors, and Preparing for the Ball. It’s understandable if we fail to notice the mirror in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Lady Lilith (previous post about the painting here).  Our eyes are naturally drawn to Lilith, … Read more

Lizzie Siddal: A New Play by Jeremy Green

Copperhead Productions and Peter Huntley Productions present THE WORLD PREMIERE OF LIZZIE SIDDAL A NEW PLAY BY JEREMY GREEN AT THE ARCOLA THEATRE from Wednesday 20 November – Saturday 21 December 2013 The Victorian art world. ‘To yearn for something – doesn’t that make life more intense?’ Lizzie Siddal, a new play about the woman … Read more

The Handwriting of Jane Morris

You may remember Dutch artist Margje Bijl from my previous blog posts about her project “Reflections on Jane Morris”. If you’re not familiar with her yet, let me introduce you to her. I believe she has an uncanny resemblance with Jane Morris, the Pre-Raphaelite muse who lived from 1839 till 1914. As I described in … Read more

More Pre-Raphaelite Pearls

Pearls adorn Love’s Shadow by Frederick Sandys A pearl rosary in the background of Kate Bunce’s The Keepsake: Large pearls are strung at intervals in Helen’s necklace (Helen of Troy, Dante Gabriel Rossetti) Three pearls suspended from a brooch in The Pale Complexion of True Love by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale:

The Pursuit of Pearls

To the ancient Greeks, they were tears of the gods. My grandmother’s akoya pearls are the most precious piece of jewelry I own, beside my wedding ring.  Apart from their sentimental value, they have a gorgeous lustre and have aged quite well. Pearls appear front and center in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Belcolore: And in Fanny … Read more

Wombat Friday: An Easter Celebration

Happy Easter!  Pictured in the background is Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s ‘The Girlhood of Mary Virgin‘, Rossetti’s first oil painting and the first work to bear the inscription ‘PRB’.  His models for this work were his mother, Frances Polidori Rossetti, and sister Christina. For new readers, here’s an explanation of Wombat Friday and don’t miss this post at … Read more

Wombat Friday: The Fairy Tale Edition

 Wombats can participate in Mythic March too, you know. Pre-Raphaelites and Fairy Tales are a perfect combination.  Beauty, magic, perhaps a hint of danger.  So today’s Wombat Friday is all about celebrating Fairy Tales.  But first, you have to welcome Kirsty, who shares her first Wombat Friday post at The Kissed Mouth.  Now, for your … Read more

Wombat Friday

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I celebrated the fact that it was Friday by posting a photo of a wombat.  Then the lovely Madeleine Pearce (@nouveaudigital) tweeted the hashtag #wombatfriday, probably not realizing that she is only encouraging my childish antics and now I can not stop. This week, the wombat brushes up … Read more

Dame Ellen Terry

My interest in Dame Ellen Terry takes me to a period a bit later than the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  Born into an acting family, Terry married painter George Frederic Watts when she was sixteen which introduced her to the likes of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Tennyson and other luminaries of the Victorian era. I recently read her … Read more

Keomi Gray

In my previous post about The Beloved, I mentioned the woman in the right area of the painting: For the woman on the right, Rossetti used a model named Keomi Gray.  I’ve desperately searched for more information about her, but it’s quite difficult.  There doesn’t seem to be much written about her and if anyone … Read more

The Beloved

Yesterday, when I shared that a detail from The Beloved can be seen on an ad for the Apple iPad mini, I realized that I’ve never posted about the painting on this site before.  Which is a shame since it is not only a striking work, but unusual.  Unusual in that it incorporates ethnic diversity … Read more

Pre-Raphaelite Sighting from Apple

Thank you to Jack Challem for sharing this little beauty. Apparently, my plans for Pre-Raphaelite world domination are afoot (insert maniacal laughter here).  On this Apple ad for the iPad mini you can glimpse info for the Tate’s Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde exhibit, with a detail from Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Beloved. Here’s the full version … Read more

The Most Unexpected Pre-Raphaelite Sighting Yet

Of all of our Unexpected Pre-Raphaelite Sightings, this one surprised me the most.  We are avid Netflix users and my daughter and I have been watching Cheers together.  We started at episode 1 a few months ago and we reached season 10 over the weekend.  We just watched season 10’s Halloween episode and you can … Read more

Fanny Cornforth as Fair Rosamund

With the release of Stunner, Fanny Cornforth is happily on my mind.  I thought I’d share one of my favorite paintings of Fanny:  Fair Rosamund by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  This is not the first time I have shared this image here, you can also see Rossetti’s study for Fair Rosamund in this post from June … Read more

Link Love: ‘Salutation of Beatrice’, Madox Brown’s grave, Elizabeth Siddal’s ‘True Love’

Via Dinah Roe’s twitter (@preraphsrule):  Audio.  Peter Brown, Director of Victorian & British Impressionist Art, Christie’s, discusses Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Salutation of Beatrice. Islington Tribune: Ford Madox Brown relative joins campaign to clean up Pre-Raphaelite artist’s grave Beautiful, moving, haunting.  Valerie Meachum reads Elizabeth Siddal’s poem ‘True Love’. (If you are reading this through … Read more

Happy Birthday Shakespeare! From the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood archives: King Lear

If you are looking for Shakespeare inspiration today, you are in luck!  Visit for a large collective of bloggers sharing posts in honor of the day! In celebration of the Bard’s birthday, here’s a post from the archives: King Lear is a tragic play filled with anger and grief.   It is wrought with suffering and … Read more

Unexpected Pre-Raphaelite Siting: La Ghirlandata in a coloring book

I love this.  Via the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood Facebook page, Rosemary Aquilina shared her brilliant discovery of a coloring book version of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s La Ghirlandata: Rosemary says “I spotted La Ghirlandata in my little sister’s coloring book! I was flipping through many pages of this:” “when THIS stopped me in my tracks!” It is … Read more