Dante Gabriel Rossetti, A Christmas Carol (1857-1858)
DGR, A Christmas Carol


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A variant of this description was originally published at The Rossetti Archive at this location

Executed in late 1857 and exhibited at the Liverpool Academy in 1858, this "A Christmas Carol" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (watercolour) was bought in mid-1859 by James Leathart for 80 guineas. DGR told Leathart it was one of the best watercolours he had ever done and advised him that "to be seen favorably [it] ought to be hung with the light from the left i.e. of the spectator—that being the light in which they were painted" (see Fredeman 59.28; 59.30). Elizabeth Siddal was the model for the principal female figure. Virginia Surtees writes of the subject of the painting:

A young woman in red, with the face of Elizabeth Siddal, having her hair combed out by two attendants, is seated in the centre facing to front, playing a clavichord decorated on two panels with scenes of the Annunciation and Nativity; and hung with sprigs of green foliage; holly trees in red barrels stand to the left and right against a wall of bright blue tiles; a black and gold tapestry hangs behind the central figure and falls to form a carpet beneath her feet. (1.55)


The picture should not be confused with the later (1867) oil painting of the same title. Its relation to The Blue Closet, however, is notable.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1923. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Works Cited

Fredeman, William E. The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. D. S. Brewer, 2002-2010.

Surtees, Virginia. Painting and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Catalogue Raisonné. vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1971.

How to Cite this Web Page (MLA format)

McGann, Jerome. "Dante Gabriel Rossetti, A Christmas Carol (1857-1858)." Omnibus Edition of "In an Artist's Studio. Eds. Pamela Buck, Dino Franco Felluga, Nicole Fluhr, Dominique Gracia, Jerome McGann, Melissa Merte, and Herbert F. Tucker. The COVE: The Central Online Victorian Educator, covecollective.org. [Here, add your last date of access to The COVE].

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Associated Place(s)


  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Image Date: 

Dec 1857