Sunday, June 17, 2012
The Day Dream
The Day Dream
Alternately titled: Monna Primavera
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Rossetti's last oil painting
Commissioned by Constantine Alexander Ionides for 700 guineas (£735) by 31 October 1879. Rossetti was very directive concerning the way the work should be exhibited in Ionides' home: 'The picture itself need not stand more than a foot at very utmost from the ground, to be seen to advantage by a seated person. (...)The picture should slope forward (...). It should be as far away from the white dado as possible, & the stand not made light but dark. The picture cannot help looking dull otherwise, though it is very brilliant if it gets a chance. It ought to stand with the light from the left of spectator, as here, otherwise it will lose in effect.' (undated letter, private collection).
The Day Dream was included in the 1900 Ionides bequest to the V&A, all of which was being shown together by 1908. By 1935, though still on display, The Day Dream was described in Muirhead's London guide simply as a "portrait" by Rossetti, evidently overshadowed in this later era by the French works in the Ionides collection.
'Within the branching shade of Reverie
Dreams even may spring till autumn; yet none be
Like Woman's budding daydream spirit fann'd.'
The Rossetti Archive says "The present head is the second painted on this canvas" but I can see no other mention of this.