Georgiana Burne-Jones

  Georgiana MacDonald Burne-Jones (1840-1920) Georgiana MacDonald came from a strict, God-fearing family.  Both her father and grandfather were Methodist ministers.  According to Jan Marsh in Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, reading the works of Shakespeare and attending the theater were forbidden and considered sinful in their family on the grounds of morality.  ‘Georgie’, as she was known, … Read more

The Blue Bower

  This painting is yet another of Rossetti’s works that depicts a woman playing music. It is also Rossetti’s last major portrait of Fanny Cornforth. I love the blue and white tile background, which is also reminiscent of the blue and white china that Rossetti and others in his circle collected. I highly recommend The Rossetti … Read more

Unexpected Pre-Raphaelite Sightings

This page is a work in progress.  If you have a sighting to add, please post a comment or post on the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood Facebook page, send me a tweet on twitter to @preraphsister, or email I love Inspector Morse mysteries.I first saw them in the 90s on PBS Mystery! and later on the … Read more

Annie Miller

Photograph of Annie Miller

  Jan Marsh briefly describes Annie Miller’s childhood in Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood (not associated with this website) as horribly poor and unhygienic, saying that a neighbor had described Annie and her sister as “dirty and covered with vermin”…and that Annie’s hair was particularly “wild and filthy”.  Annie’s mother had died some time after her birth, leaving … Read more

Venus Verticordia

Venus Verticordia, painting and poem both by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Alexa Wilding posed for the painting, although I’ve read that Rossetti also used Fanny Cornforth. Venus Verticordia She hath the apple in her hand for thee, Yet almost in her heart would hold it back; She muses, with her eyes upon the track Of that … Read more

Ophelia and the Pre-Raphaelites

Ophelia is a captivating character, one that inspired many of the Pre-Raphaelites and other Victorian artists. For those unfamiliar with Ophelia, she is Hamlet’s innocent young love interest in one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, Hamlet. Hamlet loved Ophelia – but after his meeting with the ghost of his father (Act I) he feels compelled to … Read more

A Valentine

Written by Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Elizabeth Siddal A VALENTINE Yesterday was St. Valentine. Thought you at all, dear dove divine, Upon the beard in sorry trim And rueful countenance of him, That Orson who’s your valentine? He daubed, you know, as usual. The stick would slip, then brush would fall: Yet daubed he till … Read more

Jane Morris: An Enigmatic Muse

In 1857, Rossetti and a small group of artists that included William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones were working in Oxford, painting the Union Murals.  One night, they attended a performance put on by actors from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.  Seated in the gallery below were Jane Burden and her sister.  Rossetti, struck by Jane’s … Read more

What is Pre-Raphaelite Art?

What does Pre-Raphaelite mean? While it can seem to be an umbrella term, it actually refers to art created by members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their followers. the literature that grew out of the Pre-Raphaelite art movement. Who were the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood? The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood began in 1848 as a secret society of young … Read more


I was thrilled to receive the following comment this morning on this post: “I was very excited to read your blog about the Jane Burden plaque. My musical, POSSESSED, about Jane Burden’s relationship with Morris and Rossetti is being showcased at the Oxford Playhouse in 2008.” I followed the link to the POSSESSED site and … Read more

The Blessed Damozel

The Blessed Damozel, Dante Gabriel Rossetti The blessed damozel leaned out From the gold bar of Heaven; Her eyes were deeper than the depth Of waters stilled at even; She had three lilies in her hand, And the stars in her hair were seven. Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem, No wrought flowers did … Read more

The Bower Meadow

The Bower Meadow, painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1872. Featured in the foreground are Maria Spartali Stillman (left) and Alexa Wilding(right). I’m not sure about the women in the background. Musical instruments, such as the ones seen here, seem to figure prominently in many of Rossetti’s works Veronica Veronese, The Sea-Spell, La Ghirlandata to … Read more

After five years, the Pre-Raphaelites come home

Delaware Art Museum celebrates the return of the Bancroft Collection By CHRISTOPHER YASIEJKO, The News Journal via Delaware Online They were the avant-garde artists of their time, seven young men in London, disenchanted with the art establishment. They were inspired to form a group — a brotherhood — whose purpose was to revisit the bright … Read more

Emma Madox Brown

Artist Ford Madox Brown was a widower with a young daughter, Lucy. Although not officially a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he was closely involved with most of them, especially Rossetti. Emma began posing for Brown in 1848, the year the Brotherhood was formed. Romance blossomed and eventually the two unmarried lovers conceived a child. … Read more

About Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood

Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood is my journey. It began in 1997, when I read about Elizabeth Siddal, a Pre-Raphaelite model who boldly became an artist herself. When I learned that upon her death her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, had buried his manuscript of poems with her and then exhumed her to retrieve them seven years later, I … Read more

List of Immortals

Excerpt from Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood by William Holman Hunt Published in 1914 by E.P. Dutton & Co. Once in a studio conclave, some of us drew up a declaration that there was no immortality for humanity except in reputation gained by man’s own genius or heroism. We had not yet balanced our belief … Read more

Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus

There are many artistic representations of Circe.  Previous posts on this blog include Circe Invidiosa and The Wine of Circe.  Kirsty Stonell Walker explores Circe more deeply in her post Snowdrops, Swine and Seductive Sorceresses. I’ve been looking at mirrors in Pre-Raphaelite art in my previous posts.  In Il Dolce Far Niente and Viola, the … Read more

Remember me when I am gone away…

Christina Rossetti has the distinction of appearing not only in her brother Dante Gabriel’s first painting to be exhibited, but it was also the first piece of work to bear the mysterious initials “PRB”. At the time, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was still a secret group of young idealists and the meaning of the PRB inscription … Read more