Also in this section…?

Love and morality

A calf captured in a net

Between 1848 and the late 1850s Rossetti painted many pictures about love, morality and the relationship between the sexes. He often depicted contrasts between virtue and vice, or sacred and secular, expressing strong emotions. Another favourite theme was to paint artists at work, as he believed they possessed special powers.

Most of these scenes were set in the past but he painted one important modern moral subject, 'Found', set in contemporary London. This was Rossetti's only oil painting of this period and it was never completed. He preferred to work on a smaller scale, making ink drawings and watercolours. His use of these media was experimental and original. Rossetti's penwork could be bold or intricate and his use of watercolour often involved patching, scraping and repainting to produce glowing colours.