DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI (1828-1882)
PRE-RAPHAELITE (founded 1848)
Portrait of Annie Miller (England, c.1860)
Pencil, pen, ink and grey wash on paper
S. M. Milne, Calverley House, near Leeds; by descent to:
E. M. Milne; by descent to:
Mrs. S. D. Calvert
Sotheby's London, 20 November 1969, Lot 187, as Portrait of Elizabeth Siddall; sold to:
J. S. Maas & Co., London; sold to:
Monty Bloom, Bournemouth, by 1973
The Fine Art Society Ltd., London
Roy Miles Fine Paintings, London; sold to:
Espace Co. Ltd.
Sotheby's Belgravia, 9 April 1980, Lot 19, illustrated; sold to:
Christopher Wood, London;
sold to Edmund and Suzanne McCormick; their sale:
Sotheby's New York 1989; sold to:
Private collection, Japan; to 2004
Virginia Surtees, The Paintings and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882): A Catalogue Raisonné, Oxford, 1971, Volume I, page 234, number 12
Royal Academy, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Painter and Poet, London, exhibition catalogue, 1973, page 67
Staatliche Kunsthalle, Präraffaeliten, Baden-Baden, exhibition catalogue, 1973 page 196
Christopher Forbes, McCormick's Victorian Reapings: An Amercian Collection of British Nineteenth Century Pictures, Nineteenth Century, Volume 6, Summer 1980, pages 40-43, illustrated
Susan P. Casteras, The Edmund J. and Suzanne McCormick Collection, Yale Center for British Art, 1984, page 74-75, catalogue number 30, illustrated
Grace Glueck, Gallery View, The New York Times, February 12th, 1984, page 33
Maria Teresa Benedetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Florence, 1984, page 225, number 162, illustrated
Jan Marsh, Pre-Raphaelite Women: Image of Femininity, New York, 1987, page 23, figure 17, illustrated
Alicia Craig Faxon, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, New York, 1989, page 72, figure 55, illustrated
Peter Nahum, The Brotherhood of Ruralists and the Pre-Raphaelites, 2005, The Leicester Galleries Exhibition Catalogue, illustrated, number 28
London, J. S. Maas & Co., Pre-Raphaelitism: Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Watercolours, November 1970, page 11, number 79, illustrated
London, Royal Academy, Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Painter and Poet, 1973, page 67, number 291
Baden-Baden, Staatlische Kunsthalle, Präraffaeliten, November 1973-February 1974, number 113
London, Roy Miles Fine Art Paintings, The Victorian Ideal, 1978, number 7, illustrated
New Haven, Yale Centre for British Art, The Edmund J. and Suzanne McCormick Collection of Victorian Art, 1988, number 36
Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum, English Idylls: The Edmund J. and Suzanne MacCormick Collection of Victorian Art, 1988, number 36 London, Peter Nahum at The Leicester Galleries, The Brotherhood of Ruralists and the Pre-Raphaelites, June - July 2005, number 28
Description / Expertise
William Holman Hunt discovered Annie Miller working as a barmaid in a Chelsea slum. With her graceful neck and sensuous, full mouth, Hunt saw in her his ideal of Pre-Raphaelite beauty and ‘rescued’ her with the intention of moulding her into a lady to be his wife. When, in 1854, Hunt left London for the Holy Land, he became very possessive and strictly forbade her to model for other artists, in particular Rossetti.
Despite Hunt’s restrictions, Annie was strong willed and rebellious. She modelled for Rossetti’s Dante’s Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice (1856, Tate Britain) and sat for several portrait drawings. To make things worse, she also sat for George Price Boyce and accompanied both artists to restaurants and for walks in the park.
When Hunt discovered this on his return, declared, I will never forgive Gabriel(1), and he poured out his distress to Madox Brown that she had been taken to ‘all sorts of places of amusement’ including the Cremorne pleasure gardens, where she danced with Boyce!(2) William Michael Rossetti alluded to his brother’s transgressions in a letter: It behooves me to add that Mr Hunt was wholly blameless in this matter; not so my brother, who was properly, though I will not say very deeply, censurable.(3)
In 1858, Annie Miller sat to Holman Hunt as the model for the enlightened mistress for his famous work, The Awakening Conscience (Tate), although by 1860, Hunt had relinquished all ideas of marriage and withdrawn Annie’s allowance. After this, she seemed more determined than ever to model for Rossetti in preference to doing anything else(4). This caused yet more turmoil when Rossetti’s wife, Lizzy Siddal, became jealous. She was even rumoured to have flung drawings of Annie into the Thames.
This powerful portrait of Annie, with her slightly raised chin and assured expression, was most likely made after she had asserted her independence from Hunt. Here she has blossomed into a strong woman. In 1860, George Price Boyce, a connoisseur of Stunners and the author of her portrait some six years earlier, observed that she looked more beautiful than ever(5) on viewing a drawing of her that Rossetti was making.
1. As quoted in G. H. Fleming, That Ne’er Shall Meet Again, London: Michael Joseph, 1971, page 128
2. Jan Marsh, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Painter and Poet, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1999, page 162 3. William Michael Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, His Family Letters, London Ellis and Elbey, 1895, volume 1, page 201
4. Jan Marsh, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Painter and Poet, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1999, page 209 5. Ibid.