We regret to announce the death of Mr Dante Gabriel-Rossetti, which occurred on Sunday, at 9.27 p.m., at Birchington-on-Sea, to which place he had gone some weeks ago for the benefit of his health. Mr D.G. Rossetti was the son of Mr Gabriele Rossetti, whose name is familiar to every student of Dante. Gabriele was one of the many who saw afar off the dawn of Italian unity … His desire to see a constitutional form of government in Naples was not to be gratified, and the victory of the forces of absolutism led to his expatriation in 1821.He settled in London and became a teacher of languages and professor of Italian at King’s College in 1830. His eldest son, who was named Dante in honour of the great poet, was born at London in 1828.

Dante Rossetti early showed his love for art, and breathing a home atmosphere that was filled with the best influences of Italian and English literature and art, it was only natural that his ardent imagination should take fire. He was one of those deep and earnest natures who, endowed with the creative power, see and interpret mental and spiritual emotion through the symbolism of art. The same qualities were visible in his pictures as in his poems, though his literary power appears to have developed earlier than his pictorial genius. Many of his verses were written between 1847 and 1853, but nothing was included in the volume issued in 1870 which then appeared to the author to be immature.

[D.G.Rossetti] had a share in that remarkable movement somewhat vaguely known as ‘Pre-Raphaelitism’. The P.R.B. arose in 1848, and the original brotherhood consisted of J.E. Millais, Holman Hunt, T. Woolner, W.M. Rossetti, F.G. Stephens, James Collinson, and D.G. Rossetti. Although not associated within the actual bonds, Mr Ford Maddox [sic] Brown and Mr W.H. Deverell were closely associated with these young and daring innovators, who set at defiance all the received conventionalities of the art of the period. The ‘brotherhood,’ though met with scorn and ridicule, held on their way, and exerted a deep and beneficial influence upon English art.

For many years the influence of Dante Rossetti was felt before his name was at all familiar to the public. His pictures were not to be seen at the exhibitions, but they were sought after and eagerly bought. His home at Chelsea, where he lived but for art and for a small but remarkable circle of friends, was a centre of intellectual and artistic light, and its rays reached many who were unconscious of the source.

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‘Obituary of D. G. Rossetti’, The Manchester Guardian (11 April 1882) [online version]. Transcribed by Simon Cooke.

Created 23 January 2023