Friday, September 7, 2012

Water-Willow picture by Rossetti

The young May Morris did not find the landscape factual enough. In her
Introduction to Vol. IV of The Collected Works she says of the painting:

"The Water-Willow picture by Rossetti is a portrait of my mother. It is
not so happy a likeness as some of his other studies, the face being rather
pinched and the nose too long. Mr Rossetti brought into the background
of the picture Kelmscott Manor, where he was living at the time of painting it, the little old church with its elegant open belfry, and our boat-house with the Wshing-punt moored below … We girls were fond of the picture when it was Wnished, but it bothered me to have house and church and boat-house all brought together, when they were in diVerent directions. I confided to my mother my doubts as to the morality of this, and demanded an explanation. But the child’s ‘That isn’t how things really are!’ can’t be met by explanation."

The original is now in the Delaware Art Museum at Wilmington, but a copy made by Fairfax Murray in 1890 may be seen at Kelmscott Manor.

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