Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Rossetti

Week 4 of the A to Z April Challenge and honestly I feel like I'm just barely hanging on. 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet, illustrator and painter who died in 1882.  I don't know a tremendous amount about his work, but I do know one strange story that I thought I would pass on. 

Rossetti married one of his models, Elizabeth Siddal.  After a stillbirth, Siddal died of an apparent overdose of opium (laudanum) in 1862.  Rosetti was so distraught by his wife's death that he put the only copy of a journal containing all of his unpublished poems in her coffin.  Wait, there's more.  In 1869, seven years after her death, he became obsessed with retrieving his old poems.  You might guess where this is going.  He had his wife's body exhumed in order to get his journal back.  Wow!

Elizabeth Siddal was the model used for this painting, which was finally completed about a year after her death.
Beata Beatrix by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Copyright Information.  All images are used with permission, are in the public domain, or constitute fair use policy in accordance with educational purposes


  1. Very interesting story with a message about making decisions when in the throws of grieving...."wait ONE year" after the death to immortalize the dear one with your gift of poetry, pieces of jewelry, etc. Surprised he didn't put the unfinished painting in the coffin, as well. Speaking of memorable jewels...the Beaded 'R' is one. Nice!
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  2. What a story! He was a passionate guy.
    My ceiling looks like the green part of your R :-)

  3. Your beading is excellent. Yes Rosetti was a different guy and I love the Pre-Raphaelites.

  4. Wow...poor guy. Very sad story. So many artists are tortured souls.

  5. I had no idea... So sad, yet understandable. Lovely beaded R! Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting. Hang in there, we're almost through April!!!

  6. Interesting story and lovely beadwork!

  7. The non-poets will think he's weird. The poets will probably wonder why it took him so long.

  8. Interesting and pretty creepy. Wouldn't his books have been dust by then? Beautiful beads.

  9. I like to look at paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites, but there's no getting away from it, some of them were pretty weird and Rossetti's shenanigans over his poems seems to bear that out.


Welcome smart people. Please, tell me what you think.