Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Jane Morris: Study for "Mariana"

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (British, London 1828–1882 Birchington-on-Sea)
William Shakespeare (British, Stratford-upon-Avon 1564–1616 Stratford-upon-Avon)
Red, brown, off-white and black chalks on tan paper; four sheets butt-joined (and slightly tented)
sheet: 35 3/4 x 30 3/4 in. (90.8 x 78.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Jessie Lemont Trausil, 1947
Accession Number:
Not on view
Long attracted by Jane Burden Morris’s unconventional beauty, Rossetti placed her at the center of this sheet, which he began as a head study, then developed to represent Mariana from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Tennyson’s poem Mariana in the Moated Grange. Her expression and dejected posture convey frustrated desire and weary resignation—in both sources, Mariana waits unhappily for a tarrying fiancé. The artist likely intended the theme to echo Jane’s real-life dilemma, as about 1868 her nine-year marriage to William Morris grew strained and she became increasingly close to Rossetti.
The drawing relates to a painting Rossetti made in 1870, now in the Aberdeen City Art Gallery and Museum, and echoes lines from Act IV, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's play, where Mariana listens to a song that includes the line, "Take, O take, those lips away..." In the painting the artist replaced the vase of flowers with a singing boy, and gave Mariana a piece of embroidery to hold rather than a sprig of sycamore.
Mrs. William Morris

Signature: Signed with monogram and dated at lower right: "DGR/1868"
Mrs. William Morris; Aglaia Ionides Coronio, by 1882 to her death 1906sale, London, Hampton's, Nov. 21, 1906, no. 510, 220.10.0 GBP; Estate sale of the preceding, Hampton's (auction house) (London), Nov. 21, 1906, lot. 510; sold for £220.10; Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London), 1906-8, bought at the preceding; Mrs. Philip Barbour, bought from the preceding; Donor: Jessie Lemont Trausil, 1947
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy: British Art and Design," May 20–October 26, 2014.

Surtees 1971, I, pp. 121-22, cat. 213A
William Sharp Dante Gabriel Rossetti, A Record and a Study. London, 1882, Chronological list, no. 185 as: "Lady at a Window".

William Michael Rossetti Dante Gabriel Rossetti: His Family-Letters. Ellis and Elvey, London, 1895, vol. 1, pp. 244–45.

Henry Currie Marillier, George Bell & Sons Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Illustrated Memorial of his Art and Life. London, 1899, pp. 149, 158, 261 [2nd ed., abridged and rev., 1901, p. 110].

Anne Carlisle English Drawings: XIX Century. Hyperion Press, New York, [1950], As "Mrs. William Morris", p. 88, ill.

Oswald Doughty, John Robert Wahl Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1965, cat. no. 2, vol. 2, p. 653.

Virginia Surtees The Paintings and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Catalogue Raisonné. Oxford University Press, 2 vols., Oxford, 1971, cat. no. 231A, vol. I, pp. 121-122, vol. II, pl. 304.

Evelyn Waugh Rossetti: His Life and Works. Duckworth & Co. Duckworth, London, 1975.

Maryan Wynn Ainsworth, Jane Bayard, Susan P. Casteras Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Double Work of Art. Exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery, September 23–November 14. 1976, fig. no. 18, p. 15, ill.

Susan P. Casteras, Yale University Art Gallery Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Double Work of Art The Double Vision in Portraiture. New Haven, 1976, fig. no. no. 18, ill., pp. 15–16.

Sarah Phelps Smith, University of Pittsburgh Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Flower Imagery and the Meaning of His Painting. 1978, fig. no. fig. 157, pp. 150, 154, 161.

Maria Teresa Benedetti Dante Gabriel Rossetti: disegni. La Nuova Italia Editrice La Nuova Italia, Florence, 1982, fig. no. no. 50, ill., p. 37.

Maria Teresa Benedetti Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Sansoni, Florence, 1984, fig. no. no. 361, p. 286.

Edvige Schulte Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Vita, arte, poesia. Liguori, Naples, 1986, p. 88.

Stephen Wildman, Bunkamura Museum of Art Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828–1882. Tokyo Shimbun, Tokyo, 1990, p. 100.

Maria Teresa Benedetti Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Edizioni Charta, Milan, 1998, cat. no. 361, p. 286 (not illustrated).

Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel Die Shakespeare-Illustration (1594–2000). 3 vols., Wiesbaden and Mainz, 2003, vol. II, pp. 97, 493, no. 350, ill.

Julian Treuherz, Elizabeth Prettejohn, Edwin Becker Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Thames & Hudson, 2003, cat. no. 141, fig. no. fig. 64, pp. 92, 94 (related oil painting, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums).

Katharine Baetjer British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2009, cat. no. 133, pp. 277-80, ill.

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