Dante Gabriel Rossetti

1828-1882

'Honoured among painters as a painter
And among poets as a poet'

 

D.G. Rossetti is buried in the Parish Church, Birchington, Kent, England.
 

Gravestone of Dante Rossetti

His gravestone is a large celtic cross, made by his old friend Ford Madox Brown. Inside the church there is a stained glass window commemorating the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. It was designed by Frederic Shields and was based on one of Rossetti's own paintings.

Rossetti was the son of Gabriele Rossetti and grew up in a highly charged cultural and political household. (His sister Christina Rossetti was also a poet.) He was educated at King's College School in London and then studied art with Millais and Holman Hunt. In 1848 he helped to found the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

In 1862 Rossetti's wife Lizzie Siddal died and was buried at Highgate Cemetery in London along with a small book of his poetry.  Six years later,  when Rossetti's interest in poetry had grown, he made an application to the Home Secretary to have her grave opened in order to retrieve the book. The grey leather bound book was found intact but saturated.

Rossetti also lived for some time at 16, Cheyne Walk in Chelsea - where he shared his accommodation with a menagerie including peacocks, kangaroos and wombats. A.C.Swinburne was also a  joint tenant for a short period.

William Morris famously said of him that: 'Sometimes Rossetti was an angel, and sometimes he was a damned scoundrel.'  Morris apparently condoned Rossetti's affair with his wife Jane. (She frequently modelled for Rossetti.)

Rossetti spent the last few months of his life in Westcliff Bungalow, Birchington where he went to convalesce following a seizure which left him partially paralysed. He was in severe debt when he died and his funeral was paid for by his immediate family.

There are also memorials to Rossetti in Hastings and on the Embankment in London.

Dante Rossetti (self portrait)

I have been here before,
   But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
   The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

From Sudden Light (complete poem)

 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 

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