A new ex­hi­bi­tion pays homage to one of our great­est fe­male po­ets

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An ex­hi­bi­tion at Watts Gallery re­con­sid­ers Christina Ros­setti’s com­plex legacy

Beau­ti­ful, well-con­nected and tem­pes­tu­ous, the poet Christina Ros­setti em­bod­ied the ro­man­tic ideals of the Pre-Raphaelite move­ment. As a model, she sat for some of the pe­riod’s lead­ing artists, in­clud­ing her brother Dante Gabriel Ros­setti and Wil­liam Hol­man Hunt. Many of these por­traits are shown in a new show at Watts Gallery that charts her ex­ten­sive sphere of in­flu­ence in the 19th­cen­tury art world. An ac­com­pa­ny­ing book by Ni­cholas Tro­mans and Su­san Owens ex­plores her legacy, most no­tably the enig­matic verses that sub­verted Vic­to­rian sen­si­bil­i­ties: per­haps her most fa­mous work, ‘Goblin Mar­ket’, is a tale of sis­terly de­vo­tion that is os­ten­si­bly for chil­dren yet is laced with so much sub­text that crit­ics still strug­gle to fully de­ci­pher the nar­ra­tive more than 150 years later. Ros­setti also wrote some of Bri­tain’s best-loved car­ols, from ‘In the Bleak Mid­win­ter’ to ‘Love Came Down at Christ­mas’, and their en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity is an­other tribute to her re­mark­able tal­ent. catri­ona gray ‘Christina Ros­setti: Vi­sion & Verse’ is at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Vil­lage, Comp­ton, Sur­rey (www. watts­, from 13 Novem­ber to 17 March 2019. ‘Christina Ros­setti: Po­etry in Art’ by Su­san

Owens and Ni­cholas Tro­mans (£30, Yale) is out now.

Clock­wise from right: John Brett’s 1857’s por­trait of Christina Ros­setti.The poet drawn in chalks by her brother Dante Gabriel in 1866. A pic­ture of Christina and her brother by Max Beer­bohm from his 1922book ‘Ros­setti and his Cir­cle’

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