21
JUMP TO LOT
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art

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London

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
1828-1882
THE RETURN OF TIBULLUS TO DELIA
bears a monogram and date 1851 l.r. and titled and inscribed by the artist with eight lines in Latin from ‘Tibullus’ on the reverse
watercolour with bodycolour on board
24 by 31.5cm., 9½ by 12in.
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Provenance

Given by the artist to Fanny Cornforth (Mrs Schott) and by her given to Charles Fairfax Murray;
Siddons Gallery, Paddington Green where purchased by Mr Terence W.G. Rowe, London in 1946;
The Stone Gallery, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 1971;
Lionel Jacobson;
Hartnoll & Eyre, London 1974 where purchased by Seymour Stein

Exhibited

The Rossetti Gallery, London 1883, no.10;
London, Leighton House, 1960, The Pre-Raphaelite Influence, 1960, no.71;
London, Royal Academy, Rossetti Exhibition, 1973, no.252

Literature

Virginia Surtees, Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882 – The Paintings and Drawings, A Catalogue Raisonne, vol.I., p.24, cat.no.62 incorrectly dated to 1853, illustrated vol.II, no.56

Catalogue Note

‘Live chaste, dear love; and while I’m far away,
Be some old dame thy guardian night and day.
She'll sing thee songs, and when the lamp is lit,
Fly the full rock and draw long threads from it,
So, unannounced, shall I come suddenly,
As 'twere a presence sent from heaven to thee.'

Tibullus, Elegies

In August 1851 Rossetti wrote in a letter; ‘I have at the moment two subjects en train – one from Dante’s Vita Nuova, and one from the Poems of Tibullus.’ This makes the present picture one of Rossetti’s very earliest watercolours, the other picture referred to in the letter probably being Beatrice Meeting Dante at a Marriage Feast, Denies him her Salutation (private collection).

The model for Delia was Elizabeth Siddall, Rossetti’s tragic auburn-haired muse and future wife, who first met the artist in 1850. This watercolour was among Rossetti’s earliest use of her as a model for a watercolour and one of the studies for this figure was later used by him as the basis for Beata Beatrix which was a posthumous memorial of his love for her following her suicide. As Delia, Rossetti cast ‘Lizzie’ as the loyal lover patiently waiting for Tibullus to return to her – just as Lizzie had to wait for Rossetti to propose. Ironically this watercolour belonged to Rossetti's mistress Fanny Cornforth. 

Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art

|
London