DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI PRB (1828-1882)
PRE-RAPHAELITE (founded 1848)
Portrait of Frederick Richard Leyland (England, 1879)
Coloured chalks on paper
signed with monogram
(25.20 inches high)
(18.11 inches wide)
Mrs Stevenson Hamilton, the daughter of the sitter
Description / Expertise
Rossetti was commissioned by Frederick Richard Leyland to make a portrait drawing of him which Leyland was to give to his daughter on the occasion of her marriage. Rossetti had difficulties with the portrait, which he described in a letter to Frederick Shields: I am doing a head of him for a wedding present to his eldest daughter but have begun two already without quite pleasing myself. His head is really fine, but there are difficult points to it. The first version of the portrait, which was presumably rejectd by Leyland, remained in Rossetti's studio and was subsequently sold by Fanny Cornforth in 1898 to the Bancroft Collection. The present drawing is the second version attempted and it may be assumed that this was acceptable to the patron as it was signed by Rossetti and eventually dispatched. Leyland's daughter died in the course of premature chidbirth only eight months after her marriage. Rossetti wrote to Jane Morris on 12 March 1880: I made her a drawing of her father as a wedding present. This through framing delays was never sent to Scotland till she had gone to Italy, and now she is dead.
Leyland and Rossetti remained on terms of friendship until the latter's death and Leyland formed a great collection of Rossetti's works. Leyland was one of the most remarkable patros of the Aesthetic Movemet and it was a great extent via the agency of Rossetti that Leyland came to know the painters of the age, including Albert Moore, Edward Burne-Jones, and, most notably, James Whistler, who designed the Peacock Room for him.