I’ve been very fortunate to have been surrounded by so many creative people growing up. I realised that actually I could go and create myself, which was a wonderful gift to give your children. Walking around the exhibition she seems to crop up quite a lot. They were like the cool family at the time and she was really influenced by all of the interesting people that came to the house all the time when she was growing up, which I guess I can relate to.
Christina Rossetti is part of the amazing Rossetti family and they were all incredible artists and poets. This is a painting by John Brett and he just painted her as he saw her, wanted her to love him, which was really sweet, I’d love a boy to do that for me.
She had three men that all wanted to marry her and she ended up not marrying any of them and actually she wrote a really brilliant poem called ‘No, thank you, John’ so she’s actually really funny but it’s just really clear that she didn’t really have feelings for him and she says that ‘I never loved you John’ and ‘perhaps she hasn’t got a heart, how can I give you something I do not have then’. Poor John. She was obviously quite the lady.
This is the painting done by her brother Dante. She still was incredibly striking and beautiful in this but she just looks a lot harder. If you are being a model or a muse for someone, their perception of you will always alter the way that they look at you and the way they want the world to see the piece of you that they have created. I suppose you have to hope that they really like you.
It’s amazing that the Rossetti’s all kind of, they’re such a force of art and creativity and to have Italian scholars and writers and poets and artists and sculptors and everyone coming to stay must have been amazing. They ended up producing three really talented children that went on to kind of take over the movement.