The Blessed Damozel

LL 3148


This painting is based on a poem of the same name that Rossetti wrote when he was 19. It tells the story of a woman who died young, leaving her lover behind. The couple prayed they would be reunited in the afterlife. The painting relates 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 painting is typical of Rossetti's late sensuous style. The unusual composition, with a small predella (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 - 1892).