'Water Willow', Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Portrait painting of a woman's head and shoulders with a river in the background

O il on canvas, dated 1871, 33 x 26.7cm, Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R Bancroft Memorial, 1935

This painting documents the first period Rossetti and Jane Morris spent together at Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire. Rossetti made it to fit a beautiful old frame.

The river background and the willow branches are typical of the countryside nearby. Rossetti and Jane would often take long walks around this area. The Manor is visible in the distance at upper left, Kelmscott church at upper right.

This is a rare example in Rossetti's work of a landscape setting. The subdued greys and greens of the background are carefully harmonized in both colour and mood with the wistful figure. Jane's eyes here appear greener than usual.