The introduction to this exhibition states: “The Rossetti’s passionate, anti-establishment personalities challenge our ideas of Victorians. They experimented with everything – art, life and love. They demanded poetry and painting express lived experience and feeling, and searched for modern beauty.” Really, this just about sums it up, since, with a different focus in each of the nine rooms, this well-curated show explores each of these facets of the lives and works of this family of “radical romantics”. Although the first room introduces us to the four siblings – Maria (1827-76), Gabriel (1828-82), William (1829-1919) and Christina (1830-94), the children of scholars of Italian heritage, who were encouraged to write, try their hand at art and find their own creative voices from an early age – the exhibition is primarily one of art by Gabriel and his wife Elizabeth (née Siddal), set to poetry by Gabriel and Christina.1 Nevertheless, there are some excellent loans, which make it worth the visit, and the catalogue contains some in-depth essays, which paint a clear picture of the Rossetti family and friends.
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