Skip to content

Biography of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Photo of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet during the nineteenth century.

When and Where was he Born?

12th May 1828, London, England. Christened Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti.

Family Background:

Dante Gabriel Rosetti was the son of Gabrielle Rossetti and Lavinia Polidori and brother of Christina Rossetti. Also studies in the studio of Ford Maddox Brown.


King’s College. Sass’s Drawing School, Bloomsbury, London. Royal Academy Schools, London.

Timeline of Dante Gabriel Rossetti:

1848: Rossetti forms the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.

Pre Raphaelite house
7 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, London where the Pre-Raphaelite Group was formed. (copyright Anthony Blagg)
Pre Raphaelite plaque

1849: Rossetti completes the painting “Childhood of Mary Virgin.” He meets Elizabeth Siddal for the first time and trains her in the art of painting. and writing. She becomes his model.

1850: He finalises work on the painting “Ecce Ancilla Domini”. “The Germ” is published featuring many works by Pre-Raphaelites and their symapathisers. Rossetti includes his poems “The Blessed Damozel” and “My Sister’s Sleep”.

1854: Rossetti meets John Ruskin for the first time.

1856: He meets William Morris, over whom he was to become a great influence.

1860: He marries Elizabeth Siddal.

1861: Rossetti publishes “The Early Italian Poets” which consisted of translations from sixty major Italian poets such as Dante himself.

Aurelia (Fazio's Mistress). 1873. Tate Gallery
Aurelia (Fazio’s Mistress). 1873. Tate Gallery

1862: He is badly affected by the death of his wife from an overdose of Laudanum. His work begins to take on a more and more morbid turn.

1869: Rossetti begins an affair with Jane Morris, the wife of William Morris.

1871-74: Jane begins to model for him on his stay at Kelmscott Manor.

Cheyenne Walk House
House at 16 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea where Rossetti lived. 
(Algernon Charles Swinburne later went to live with him there) (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1872: After a particularly bad attack of depression he attempted suicide.

1880: Jane posed for his painting “The Daydream”.

1881: Rossetti publishes his “Ballads and Sonnets” which featured “The King’s Tragedy.

When and Where did he Die?

9th April 1882, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, England of Bright’s disease which is a historical classification of kidney diseases that are described in modern medicine as acute or chronic nephritis.

Age at Death:


Written Works:

1850: “The Gem.”
1861: “Early Italian Poets”.
1870: “Poems”.
1881: “Ballads and Sonnets”.
(1886): “Collected Works”.


1860 to Elizabeth Siddal. (died 1862 from an overdose of Laudanum).

Site of Grave:

All Saint’s Churchyard, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, England.

Places of Interest:


Museum and Art Gallery.


Tullie House Museum, Carlisle.


Russell Coates Gallery, Bournemouth.


Tate Britain.
Victoria and Albert Museum.
16 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.
National Portrait Gallery.
William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow.


Bolton Art Gallery.


City Art Gallery.


Sudley House, Liverpool.


Norwich Castle Museum.


Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield.
Maplin Art Gallery, Sheffield.


McManus Galleries, Dundee.
Aberdeen Art Gallery.