Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Wedding of St George and Princess Sabra

1857

Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 365 x 365 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased with assistance from Sir Arthur Du Cros Bt and Sir Otto Beit KCMG through the Art Fund 1916
Reference
N03058

Display caption

This work was executed while Rossetti and other artists were decorating the Oxford Union with medievalist murals. In Oxford, Rossetti saw Jane Burden, later Mrs William Morris, and immediately asked her to pose for him. She is the model for Princess Sabra, threading a lock of her hair through St George's helmet.

The claustrophobic composition is characteristic of much of Rossetti's work at this time. Sabra's embrace of an armoured figure, enmeshing him with her hair, and St George's distracted gaze hint at Rossetti's dilemma of being involved with Elizabeth Siddall but feeling a strong attraction for Jane.

Gallery label, August 2004

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