In 1862, after Elizabeth Siddal's death, Walter Knewstub went to work for Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Knewstub had a humorous, easy going temperament and fitted in well to Rossetti's uncotiventional household in Cheyne Walk. Sir John Rothenstein, the artist's grandson, takes up the story:

Walking together, Rossetti and Knewstub saw a young woman whose beauty moved them deeply; they followed her home and asked her father for his permission to call again and make portraits of her. Deepty suspicious of "artists", he consented with reluctance. My grand father fell in love with her and, anxious to remove her from a bohemian circle around Rossetti (she was quickly acclaimed as one of the Pre-Raphaelite "stunners"), he married her before he could maintain her otherwise than precariously.

The marriage to Emily seems to have caused a breach between Knewstub and Rossetti. John Rothenstein suggests that Knewstub's sense of propriety was offended when Rossetti used her head for the semi-naked figure Venus Verticordia. In addition Knewstub's salary as Rossetti's assistant was never paid. Knewstub could probably tolerate this as an easy-going bachelor, but not as a married man. He began to exhibit independently from 1865. (Waters)



Waters, Bill. Burne-Jones -- A Quest for Love: Works by Sir Edward Burne-Jones Bt and Related Works by Contemporary Artists. London: Peter Nahum, 1993.

Last modified 30 July 2001