Get Inspired: Jewelry in Rossetti’s Paintings

Bolor Jargalsaikhan 29 June 2023 min Read

Each piece of jewelry in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s paintings worn by his models wasn’t invented but copied from actual accessories from the artist’s collection. Pieces were carefully selected to complement the garment, color, and other aesthetic features of the painting. Rossetti kept a cabinet in his house at Cheyne Walk full of necklaces, brooches, and knick-knacks of all kinds.

Most of them were cheap pieces of costume jewelry, but some were his particular favorites. The spiral pearl pin, for example, was featured in quite a few of his paintings, including The Beloved, Monna Vanna, A Christmas Carol, Mariana, and The Bower Meadow.

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Beloved (The Bride), 1865-6, Tate, London, Jewellery in Rossetti's paintings pearl pin

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, A Christmas Carol

Most of those items were sold after Rossetti’s death and cannot be traced. However, the following four items were bequeathed to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London by Jane Morris’ daughter May. Rossetti might have given them to Jane, his muse, and model for numerous paintings, including Proserpina, as a token of love during the period of their intimate relationship. All four of them are on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

1. Belt and Hanger

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Belt and hanger, Jane Morris

The belt is worn by the central figure in Astarte Syriaca (1875–1877). Jane Morris was the model for the painting and it represents the goddess Venus. Only it’s not the European Venus portrayed by Sandro Botticelli, but a mysterious and more ancient “Oriental goddess”, who is identified as “Syrian Venus”. In the painting, Rossetti slightly simplified the floral design and turned color from silver to silver-gilt – to match the tonality.

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Astarte-Syriaca, Dante Gabriel Rossetti

2. Jane Morris’ Wedding Ring on a Gold Chain

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Jane Morris's gold chain and wedding ring

Jane Morris is portrayed wearing this chain in The Blue Silk Dress (1868) and Mariana (1870). Apart from the wedding ring, the chain could also have originally belonged to Rossetti.

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Rossetti, Dante Gabriel; Blue Silk Dress (Jane Morris), 1868, Society of Antiquaries, London

3. Bracelet

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Jane Morris, Rossetti bracelet

The central motif of the bracelet is a pair of sea serpents on each side of a water pot with lion masks grasping the plated chain in their jaws. Rossetti first used this exotic piece in 1864 in Monna Pomona and it can clearly be seen worn by The Bride (1865–1866).

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Monna Pomona 1864 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882, gold bracelet

4. Heart-Shaped Brooch

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Morris heart shaped brooch

The brooch consists of two red and one green pieces of colored glass within a heart-shaped mount with small rosettes and leaves filling the gaps. Though it was made with a vertical pin to be worn as a brooch, in The Blue Bower (1865) Fanny Cornforth wears it as a pendant, hanging provocatively at her throat on a chain. It echoes her red lips and the green silk of her robe.

Jewelry in Rossetti's Paintings: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Blue Bower, 1865, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham

Get your daily dose of art

Click and follow us on Google News to stay updated all the time


Left image is showing a detail from a painting-a women (Flora) dressed in a floral dress. Right image is showing a floral dress made after an inspiration from the painting on the left. Fashion

Pioneer of Italian Fashion: Artist-Designer Rosa Genoni

An Italian artist-designer at the turn of the 20th century, Rosa Genoni is described as a founder of Italian fashion, a dressmaker, a teacher, a...

Nikolina Konjevod 13 May 2024

Rococo fans. Bacchus and Ariadne, c. 1760, Fan Museum, Greenwich, UK. Fashion

Rococo Fans: Craft, Art, and Hidden Messages

Before air conditioning, women relied on fans to keep themselves fresh during the summer. The accessory became so popular during the 18th century...

Jimena Escoto 10 August 2023

Horst P. Horst, Alix Dress, Fashion, Lud with Columns, 1938, Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA, USA. Photograph by Horst P. Horst via SCAD FASH. Fashion

Unraveling the Mastery of Madame Grès: The Art of Draping Exhibition in Atlanta

Madame Grès, The Art of Draping is a fashion exhibition held by SCAD FASH (Savannah College of Art and Design) Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta,...

Errika Gerakiti 9 March 2023

Balenciaga SS2022. Fashion

Royal Fashion: From Palace to Runway

Social status has always been signaled through fashion. The monarchs knew their garments needed to stand out in order to distinguish themselves from...

Errika Gerakiti 23 February 2023