Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dante Gabriel Charles Rossetti - The Laurel

The Laurel
Pencil on white paper
14 x 10.75 inches
Provenance: Rossetti Sale (lot 161)
Bt. Thompson
J.A. Crabtree
with Colnaghi's London, 1955
Private Collection of L.S Lowry, 1955
Private Collection, UK
Exhibited: Manchester City Art Gallery, The Private Collection of L.S. Lowry, 1st April-31st May 1977 (5)
Literature: HC Marillier, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Illustrated Memorial of his Art and Life, London, 1899, no. 135, p.110 (repr.)
Ed. WM Rossetti, Permanent Photographs of the works by DG Rossetti, 1900, no. 84
Virginia Surtees, The Paintings and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 - 1882), Oxford University Press, 1971, volume 1, p.98, cat. no. 172

The sitter was probably Ada Vernon, drawn in 1864. After Lizzie Siddal and before Jane Morris, in the early to mid 1860s, Ada was one of a few models of a brooding, monumental type, with columnar neck, full lips, luxuriant hair and full figure that Rossetti favoured. He made similar drawings of Fanny Cornforth and Alexa Wilding during this period, often with floral attributes. The laurel Ada holds in this drawing may symbolise triumph, or protection, whilst the chain hints at her powers of enslavement. Clear and sensual, it was one of several pictures of women by Rossetti once in the incongruous collection of the artist LS Lowry, who was fascinated by them, saying "They are not real women... They are dreams…"

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