D. G. Rossetti Roasting the St. John Wood's Clique, c. July 1864. Pen and brown ink on an envelope; 2 3/8 x 4 1/8 inches (5.9 x 10.4 cm). Collection of the National Gallery of Canada, accession no. 2021.0143.164.

Fred Walker was well known for his caricatures and this is one of his best. It would have greatly appealed to his friends in The Clique who were known for their sense of fun and their love of practical jokes. Dante Gabriel Rossetti is portrayed as a Chinaman with a pigtail grilling Philip Hermogenes Calderon and Henry Stacey Marks on the St. John's Wood Clique's trademark gridiron over a bonfire of Fraser's Magazine. The gridiron signified that cartoon was in response to an article by W. M. Rossetti in Fraser's praising the St. John's Wood Clique as the "coming men": "The principal artists to whom we refer as exhibiting the foreign influence our Messrs. Calderon, Yeames, Hodgson, Marks, and, in a somewhat diverse yet distinctive phase, Prinsep. All these are men of note by this time, and do themselves credit in the Academy exhibition. Indeed, they are the "coming men": a point on which we shall have more to say in the sequel. In native pictorial gift we rate Mr. Prinsep highest; in purpose and calibre of mind, of which fine things may be expected, Mr. Hodgson, and not far from him Mr. Yeames, who is at present a surer executant; Mr. Calderon stands first of all in aplomb and discipline; Mr. Marks in sprightliness and character-painting – at least, he had hitherto done so" (58).

D. G. Rossetti Roasting the St. John Wood's Clique, by Frederick Walker. July 1864. Pen and brown ink on paper; 4 3/8 x 7 inches (11.2 x 17.8 cm). Private collection.

Walker produced this drawing in at least three slightly different versions. Two are in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada from the Douglas E. Schoenherr bequest and one is in a private U.K. collection. In the two versions illustrated here blue-and-white Chinese pots are to the right, one of which is standing on a stand of Moorish design. The pots are different in these two versions as well as different again in the second version at the NGC. In the drawing from the private collection plates, likely again to be blue-and-white examples, are seen on a plate rack on what is presumably a sideboard. Rossetti and his friend James McNeill Whistler were both well-known collectors of blue-and-white china and rivals for their acquisition. In 1864, the same year that Walker made these drawings, Whistler had exhibited a painting of a woman painting a blue-and-white china pot at the Royal Academy entitled Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks. The Moorish stand portrayed was likely available through a retailer such as Farmer and Rogers in Regent Street, who had opened their Oriental Warehouse following the success of the International Exhibition of 1862 at South Kensington that had introduced such furniture. In the NGC version the gridiron is much better delineated and the images of both Calderon and Marks are better shown. Frazer, relating to Fraser's Magazine, is shown twice. In the NGC version several copies of the magazine are being burnt whereas in the version in a private collection it is only one large copy. Rossetti's costume is much more detailed in the version in the private collection.

Links to Related Material


Rossetti, William Michael. "The Royal Academy Exhibition." Fraser's Magazine LXX (July 1864): 57-74.

Created 10 July 2023