Sunday, July 1, 2012
Rossetti and the death of the Wombat
Wombats ( Rossetti's pet name for Janey).
Rossetti lamenting the death of his wombat, 1869. Dante Gabriel Rossetti loved exotic animals and began to collect them with a passion after the tragic death of his wife Elizabeth Siddal in 1862.
He had moved to 16 Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, a house with a large garden that soon became a miniature zoo. The wombats had a special place in Rossetti's heart. In a letter to his brother he described the arrival of the first one as 'a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness'. This drawing commemorates the short-lived second wombat. Instead of being laid to rest in the tomb depicted in the background, the marsupial was stuffed and placed in Rossetti's entrance hall.