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In the classical myth Proserpine was kidnapped by Pluto, the god of the underworld, to be his wife. She begged to be returned to earth, but because she had eaten some pomegranate seeds Pluto confined her to his kingdom for half of each year. She is shown here eating a pomegranate which symbolises captivity. Jane Morris modelled for Proserpine. She was married to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s friend William Morris and was also Rossetti’s lover. She was unhappy in her marriage and Rossetti may also have seen her as a captive goddess.

July 2007