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The Blessed Damozel

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, About 1875 - 1879

LL 3148

Part of

Pre-Raphaelites collection

About this object

This painting is typical of Rossetti's late sensuous style. It is based on a poem, of the same name, that the artist wrote when he was 19. It told the story of a woman who died young, leaving her lover behind. The couple prayed they would be reunited in the afterlife.

The painting corresponds to the first verse of the poem:

‘The blessed damozel leaned out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.’

The unusual composition, with a small predella, or decorated base, under the main picture, was suggested by Rossetti's patron, William Graham (1817-1885), who bought the original, larger version of this painting. This version was commissioned by the Liverpool-based shipping magnate and Pre-Raphaelite patron Frederick Leyland (1831-1982).

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti (British: English, born:12 May 1828, died:09 April 1882)
  • Date
    About 1875 - 1879
  • Materials
    Oil paint; Canvas
  • Measurements
    frame: 221.5 cm x 139 cm x 21.5 cm; canvas (top) 111 cm x 82.5 cm; canvas (bottom) 36.5 cm x 82.5 cm
  • Physical description
    The top picture depicts a woman with bow lips and stars in her hair. She holds three flowers in her hands. Above her head are three winged cherubs and below her two angel heads. In the bottom section (predella), a reclining male figure stares up towards her.
  • Related people
    Barbizon House (Previous owner); Lady Inchiquin (Previous owner); William Hesketh Lever (Previous owner); Frederick Richards Leyland (Previous owner); William Connal McLean (Previous owner); Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Artist/maker)
  • Credit line
    Purchased by William Hesketh Lever in 1922
  • Location
    Lady Lever Art Gallery, Room 10
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Explore related

Events

  • Christie's Auction House Sale Frederick Richards Leyland

    Start date:
    End date:
    Description: F R Leyland Christie's sale 28 May 1892

Ownership

Previous owners

  • William Hesketh Lever

    Owned from: 1922
    How acquired: Purchased from D Croal Thomson, Barbizon House
    Owned until: ?-
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Barbizon House

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1922
    Disposal method: Sold to Lever
  • Lady Inchiquin

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • William Connal McLean

    Owned from: 1892-05-28
    How acquired: Purchased at Christie's sale 28 May 1892
    Owned until: ?-
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Frederick Richards Leyland

    Owned from: 1881
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1892-05-28
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: D G Rossetti
    Inscription method: Signature
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Predella
Object view = Fine Art
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