Thursday, June 21, 2012

The German Lesson

The German Lesson', from an album of 60 caricature drawings; William Morris holding up a pair of trousers of his shape, a maid standing in a doorway at left and Jane Morris on a couch behind at r, clothes strewn across the floor. 1869
Pen and brown ink
Drawn by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Gere 1994
The drawing accompanied a letter dated 4 August 1869 to Mrs Morris at Ems (Bryson and Troxell, letter 8), with the comment: "I fear that the legitimate hopelessness of the pictorial and ideal Topsy has somewhat communicated itself to the German maid in the cartoon, and even you have rather a Georgian air. The poetry and philosophy of the subject are I hope complete, while you will see that even Scriptural analogy has not been neglected". The last reference is to the picture on the wall entitled 'Das erdiges Paradies', of Adam proffering a fig-leaf to Eve. For 'The Earthly Paradise' see 1939,0513.5. "Georgian" must be a reference to Burne Jones's wife Georgiana, always known as "Georgie", whom he married in 1860.

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