Julia Dudkiewicz’s new article in the current issue of The British Art Journal (Volume XVI, No. 2, Autumn 2015) entitled ‘Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Collection of Old Masters at Kelmscott Manor’ is now available online.
As recorded by many of his contemporaries, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a most extraordinary, avant-garde collector of antiques and Old Masters, but the great majority of his possessions got dispersed without trace at his posthumous sale of 1882. Relying on archival research and two historic images – a drawing by Hanslip Fletcher (1899, William Morris Gallery), and a Country Life photograph of 1921 – it has been possible to trace, and verify the attribution, of all five of his Old Masters left behind at Kelmscott Manor in 1874. Spring or Cultivation of Tulips by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1632), Matthias Knutsen (Bavarian school, 1556), The Birth of the Virgin (Italian, 17th century) and the Views of Rua Nova dos Mercadores, Lisbon (I & II, Netherlandish or Portuguese artist, 1570-1590) form a rare insight into Rossetti’s prized yet little-known collection, and stand as testimony to his two-year permanent residence of the house (from 1872-74).
The research forms part of Julia’s PhD on Kelmscott Manor, supported with a Central Saint Martins bursary. She would like to acknowledge the vital help and support of her PhD supervisors, Caroline Dakers and Judy Willcocks, the Pre-Rapahelite Society’s Chairman Patricia O’Connor, and Jeremy Warren, Honorary Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of London.