Jane Morris seated, leaning forward with her head turned to the right, resting on her hand, and facing the viewer. DGR posed her in this striking posture and later recurred to the composition in his painting Reverie, done in 1868; the sitter was again Jane Morris.
All images in this post are from: Album of Portraits of Mrs. William Morris (Jane Burden) Posed by Rossetti, 1865. Composed by Gordon Bottomly in 1933
This book is an album of photographic prints that were made from photographs shot by John Parsons under Rossetti’s directions. All the photos seem to have been shot on 7th June 1865 at Rossetti’s house on Cheyne Walk. Most of the shots were taken outdoors, in the garden [where a marquee was set], but two were made indoors in the parlor. Some of the prints are original (dating back from 1865), some were made later as an effort to preserve the images, which were seen to be fading.
This portrait is closely related to two other pictures in the Jane Morris series of photographs: the picture is virtually the mirror image of “Jane Morris seated, half length” [image # 5 in this post], where Mrs. Morris faces left in much the same pose (the latter is also fairly closely cropped); and to “Jane Morris seated, half length” [image # 2 in this post]—a much less closely cropped shot, this one with Mrs. Morris also facing to the left.
DGR used this photograph as the compositional point of departure for the pencil drawing The Roseleaf
This is one of three prints made from a single negative. Mrs. Morris is reclining on a plush loveseat facing right with her head resting on a black pillow and turned slightly away from the viewer. Her hands are in her lap and the pose is set against a black backdrop. This print is cropped down like the Victoria and Albert’s 1865 original. Museum records identify the second copy in the V & A as a modern copy of the original. The modern print shows a larger background area that includes part of a canopy and some of its upholding poles.
Mrs. Morris outdoors, slumped in plush chair facing the camera, under cloth canopy. Her left hand is curled back over her left shoulder, her right rests on her knee. Off to the right edge of the picture is visible a chair with a shawl or some sort of drapery thrown over it. A second print, uncropped, is identified in the Victoria and Albert records as a modern print; this is the original (1865) print.
At least three copies of this pose survive, one in the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, the other two in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Album of Portraits of Mrs. William Morris (Jane Burden). Posed by Rossetti, 1865 .
The state of the two Victoria and Albert Museum prints tells much about DGR’s involvement with these photographs. In the larger copy [image below] a good deal of space is left around the sitter, who is seated in DGR’s garden, in full view, and facing to her right. A decorated screen is placed a few feet behind her; beyond that is foliage, though it is scarcely discernible as such. The print shows where Gordon Bottomly worked on the original print with a brush to disguise where the top of the print had been damaged during later efforts to mount it.
The smaller print [image above] in the album shows DGR intervening on the original photograph. In this case he has used a brush to paint on the print and smooth out Mrs. Morris’s dress (along the left sleeve and also among the folds by her left leg). The second print also illustrates a characteristic alteration of another kind that one finds in the album prints. This second print is much lighter and has been cropped so that the screen takes up virtually the whole of the background.
Mrs. Morris outdoors, seated in wicker chair facing right, with her left hand crossed to grasp the right edge of the chair and her right resting on the edge. A shawl draped across the chair has moved and is out of focus. A modern print [image below] showing the original compositional structure of the photograph is also in the V&A museum. This print was made in 1865 and is cropped and printed lighter than the modern print.
All images are from the book : Album of Portraits of Mrs. William Morris (Jane Burden) Posed by Rossetti, 1865. Composed by Gordon Bottomly in 1933
source of images V&A Museum
source of text Rossetti Archive