Poems By D. G. Rossetti - Collections and Critical Assessment

Collections and Critical Assessment

Tate Britain, Birmingham, Manchester and Salford Museum and Art Galleries all contain large collections of Rossetti's work; the latter was bequeathed a number of works following the death of L.S. Lowry in 1976. Lowry was president of the Newcastle-based 'Rossetti Society', which was founded in 1966. Lowry's private collection of works was chiefly built around Rossetti's paintings and sketches of Lizzie Siddal and Jane Morris, and notable pieces included Pandora, Proserpine and a drawing of Annie Miller. In an interview with Mervyn Levy, Lowry explained his fascination with the Rossetti women in relation to his own work: "I don't like his women at all, but they fascinate me, like a snake. That's why I always buy Rossetti whenever I can. His women are really rather horrible. It's like a friend of mine who says he hates my work, although it fascinates him." The friend Lowry referred to was businessman Monty Bloom, to whom he also explained his obsession with Rossetti's portraits: "They are not real women They are dreams He used them for something in his mind caused by the death of his wife. I may be quite wrong there, but significantly they all came after the death of his wife."

The popularity, frequent reproduction, and general availability of Rossetti's later paintings of women have led to this association with "a morbid and langourous sensuality". His small-scale early works and drawings are less well known, but it is in these that his originality, technical inventiveness, and significance in the movement away from Academic tradition can best be seen. As Roger Fry wrote in 1916, "Rossetti more than any other artist since Blake may be hailed as a forerunner of the new ideas" in English Art.

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