Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a famous painter and poet who made his name as a founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Born on 12th May 1828 in Hallam Street Fitzrovia, Rossetti was the son of Italian expatriates. His father was a scholar who had been exiled from Naples for his political poetry while his mother worked as a governess and educated her children from an early age.
When Rossetti was young, he expressed an interest in art and apprenticed with the historical painter Ford Madox Brown after leaving school. He also became an avid reader of poetry, enjoying the works of Shelley, Keats and Tennyson and writing sonnets such as ‘My Sister’s Sleep’, ‘The Blessed Damozel’ and ‘Dante at Verona’.
At the age of 20, Rossetti founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with six other young men, who were mostly painters. The group opposed the stuffiness of the British Royal Academy which encouraged the painting of moral subjects and focused their attention on the beauty of nature, drawing in bright colours with lots of detail and hidden symbols.
Rosetti became particularly well known for his female portraits which were highly stylised with elongated necks, cupid bow lips and voluminous hair. Many of his paintings from the 1850s featured Elizabeth Siddal, a model and hatmaker, who worked as Rossetti’s muse and later became his wife.
When she tragically died in 1862 of an opium overdose, Rossetti was so grief stricken that he buried her with the only complete manuscript of his poems. The following year he finished Beata Beatrix, his most famous painting, based on her image and a testimony of his affection for her.
Today, an apartment in the building where Rossetti was born is available to rent with Dexters. Offering two double bedrooms and one bathroom, the contemporary flat has a long reception and dining room as well as a separate kitchen with a double oven and black granite work surfaces.
‘Close to Great Portland Street station and the green open spaces of Regent’s Park, this property has a wonderful history and would be ideal for a pair of young professionals looking for a modern apartment in a central London location,’ says Lazarus Demetriou, Director of Dexters Fitzrovia.