Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Marigolds (Alternate titles: Bower Maiden / Fleurs de Marie / Gardener's Daughter) (1873)
Young girl in a tapestried chamber, with a jar containing marybuds or marsh marigolds, she is arranging them on a shelf. Near her is a cat playing with a ball of worsted.


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

Scholarly Commentary


William Sharp admired this picture, on which he made an elaborate commentary. Particularly noteworthy is the following remark: “I have heard it spoken of as one of his few modern paintings, but while not of necessity belonging to any definite period it undoubtedly assimilates much more to earlier periods than the nineteenth-century” (233). The comment suggests that Sharp is following Dante Gabriel Rossetti's own view of the picture when he compared it to the Veronica Veronese: “I shall call the picture either Spring Marybuds or The Bower Maiden. It represents a young girl (fair) in a tapestried chamber, with a jar containing marybuds (or marsh marigolds, the earliest spring flowers here), which she is arranging on a shelf. Near her is a cat playing with a ball of worsted. The picture abounds in realistic materials & is much like the Veronica in execution & not inferior to that picture in colour. I never made a pen-&-ink sketch of it—the whole depending, like Veronica, on direct painting from nature—thus I cannot send you a sketch to look at: but you would be quite certain to like the picture & it would be a general favorite. Its size is 44¼ x 28.” (see Rossetti's letter to Leyland of January 31, 1784, in Fredeman 1874.21). 

Production History

In his January letter Dante Gabriel Rossetti told Frederick Leyland that he had executed this picture “last spring.” Leyland declined the picture but it was bought in February 1874 by William Graham, as Rossetti told Treffry Dunn in a letter of 9 February (see Fredeman 1873.134, 1874.21, 1874.26).

A letter to Rossetti's mother written from Kelmscott on 20 May 1873 indicates the likely date of the work: “The apple blossom in our orchard has been in full glory and is still delicious, and everything is most lovely. I shall try if I can pack you a bouquet safely to Euston Square today, including wild flowers—especially the yellow mary-buds (or marsh marigolds) which are most splendid in the fields wherever the floods have been most persistent” (Fredeman 1873.134, and 1874.21).

Physical Description

Medium: Oil.

Dimensions: 45 x 29 in. 

Signature: Monogram. 

Date on Image: 1874. 

Note: Monogram and dare are in the lower right corner. 

Production Description

Production date: 1873. 

Exhibition History: B.F.A.C., 1883 (no.79).

Original Cost: 650 guineas.

Model: ?

Note: In a letter to his mother (23 February 1874) Dante Gabriel Rossetti identified the model as "Little Annie," a young lady later described by Theodore Watts-Dunton as a house assistant at Kelmsott (Fredeman 1874.36). 


Current Location: Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

Catalog Number: 1956-90.

Archivel History: William Graham; Graham sale at Christie's 1886 (lot 144); Lord Davey; Christie's 1936, (lot 52); Miss Martin; Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. 

Works Cited

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

Sharp, Wiliam. Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Record and a Study. Macmillian and Co., 1882. 

MLA Citation

McGann, Jerome. “Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Marigolds (1873).” Rossetti Archive Galleries. The COVE: The Central Online Victorian Educator, covecollective.org. [Here, add your last date of access to The COVE].

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