The Laurel

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)


14 x 10.75 inches

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…"

Collection: Maas Gallery

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