Saturday, June 16, 2012
In the warm summer of 1857, Rossetti and Ned went to a performance of the musical comedy Ben Bolt being staged by the Drury Lane company in a temporary theatre (in a gymnasium) in Oriel Street, Oxford. There Rossetti spotted two beautiful young girls. One was tall and elegant with tightly waved black hair. Gabriel was struck by her skin which he later called 'dark pearl'. She had sloe eyes and steep cheek bones which he thought looked Greek or even Gypsy. Her sister was very pretty too but in a more 'ordinary' way.
They approached the girls after the curtain fell and Rossetti asked Jane to come to his rooms in George Street to model the next day. Jane was 17, her sister 15. Jane agreed but never showed up but Ned ran into her again a few days later. Her Father had objected so ned and Rossetti called at his house in St Helen's passage and persuaded Jane's parents.
Rossetti immediately changed his mural Guinevere drawings from Lizzie's face to Jane's.