Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Virgin Mary Being Comforted (1852)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Virgin Mary Being Comforted (1852).


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

Scholarly Commentary


This is one of the many Marian pictures and poems that Dante Gabriel Rossetti created in the late 1840s and early to mid-1850s. The sketch for the virtually finished pencil drawing has on its back a study for The Meeting of Dante and Beatrice in Paradise. The contiguity underscores the close relation Rossetti saw in his pursuit of his Marian and his Beatricean themes.

Production History

The date and inscription on the finished drawing suggests that Dante Gabriel Rossetti made the drawing when he was staying with E. L. Bateman in the Howitt's cottage at Highgate. Bateman went to Australia with Thomas Woolner the following July, and this drawing must have been Rossetti's parting gift to him. (See Rossetti's letter to Woolner of 1 January 1853, Fredeman 1853. 1).


The picture reconstructs the scene just before the crucifixion of Jesus, observing it in relation to key background figures who do not come into the biblical narratives.

General Description

Date: 1852 May.

Subject: “Composition of three women in which the Virgin Mary is centrally placed; St. John stands beside them. In the left background Jesus is mounting the stairs with his gaolers, jeered at by onlookers; right background, roughly sketched, Pontius Pilate washes his hands; Christ, haloed, is being mocked” (Surtees 18).

Physical Description

Medium: Pencil.

Dimensions: 8 3/4 x 10 3/4 in.

Note: At lower left: “E.L. Bateman from his friend Dante Gabriel Rossetti Highgate. May 1852.” At lower right: “William Leiper from his friend E.L. Bateman. The Hermitage, [illegible] 1891.”

Production Description

Production Date: 1852 May.

Exhibition History: R.A., Pre–Raphaelites and Other Masters, 2003 (cat. 2).


Current Location: Lord Lloyd–Webber.

Archival History: Edward Latrobe Bateman; William Leiper; Allan McLean; Miss Marguerite Key; Mrs. Claudia Naudi.

Works Cited

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

Surtees, Virginia. The Paintings and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 1882): A Catalogue Raisonne. Vol 2. Clarendon Press, 1971.

How to Cite this Web Page (MLA format)

McGann, Jerome. “Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Virgin Mary Being Comforted (1852).” Rossetti Archive Galleries. The COVE: The Central Online Victorian Educator, covecollective.org. [Here, add your last date of access to The COVE].


Associated Place(s)

Part of Group:


  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Image Date: