One of several versions of this subject, this painting was unfinished at the time of Rossetti's death and the background was completed by Ford Madox Brown. The painting is a personal expression of Rossetti's love for his deceased wife, Elizabeth Siddal, seen through the writings of Dante (the subject is taken from 'La Vita Nuova'). In this version, the poppies are red, perhaps an explicit reference to opium-derived laudanum. Another version of the painting is in the Tate collection. There are also numerous related pencil studies in the Birmingham collection, as well as a large ornamental maijolica dish painted with a scene of Rossetti's 'Dante's Dream'.

  • Purchased, 1891.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti -
Artist Ford Madox Brown -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
Quomodo sedet sol
Text frame Painted -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
The Permanent Collection of Paintings, and a Special Loan Collection of Modern Pictures
175 Birmingham Musuem and City Art Gallery 1891-10-02 - 1892
Loan Exhibition of Works by Ford Madox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelites
158 City of Manchester Art Gallery 1911-09-14 - 1911-11
Loan Collection of Works by English Pre-Raphaelite Painters Lent by the Art Gallery Committee of the Birmingham Corporation
11 National Gallery of British Art (now Tate Gallery, London) 1911-12 - 1912-03
Some Pre-Raphaelite Paintings and Drawings
- National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth 1955-07 - 1955-10
- Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea - - 1955-10
Pictures from Birmingham by British Artists
54 National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth 1956 - 1956
Nineteenth-Century English Art
69 Folkestone Art Gallery, Kent 1965 - 1965
Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
42 Hong Kong Museum of Art 1984-10-20 - 1984-12-02
Whisper of the Muse: The World of Julia Margaret Cameron
78 Colnaghi, London 1990 - 1990
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
27 Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo 1990-09-22 - 1990-11-14
27 Aichi Prefectural Art Gallery, Nagoya 1990-11-17 - 1990-12-09
27 Ishibashi Museum of Art, Kurume 1991-01-08 - 1991-02-14
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, England
104 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington 1995-03-09 - 1995-05-07
104 Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio 1995-05-27 - 1995-07-16
104 Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington 1995-08-11 - 1995-10-15
104 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1995-11-04 - 1996-01-02
104 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia 1996-01-23 - 1996-01-231996-04-10
104 Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery 1996-05-25 - 1996-09-29
Art Nouveau
no cat no. Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2000 - 2000


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
Dante Gabriel Rossetti: an Illustrated Memorial of his Art and Life
H C Marillier 1899 George Bell and Sons, London no. 284; p. 129.
City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham: Catalogue of Paintings
1960 City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham p. 127
Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882, The Paintings and Drawings: A Catalogue Raisonne
Virginia Surtees 1971 Oxford University Press, London vol. 1, no. 168R5, p. 96
The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle: a booklet illustrating, with descriptive notes, some of the most important works of the Pre-Raphaelites in the permanent collection of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
1979 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham p. 50
Sotheby's sales catalogue, 20 June 1989
1989 Sotheby's, London no. 68
The Age of Rossetti, Burne-Jones and Watts: Symbolism in Britain 1860-1910
Andrew Wilton, Robert Upstone 1997 Tate Gallery Publishing, London pp. 155-57
The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites
Elizabeth Prettejohn 2000 Tate Publishing, London p. 200
Whisper of the Muse: The World of Julia Margaret Cameron
Jeremy Howard 1990 Colnaghi, London pp. 95-97
Christie's sale catalogue, 28 November 2001
2001 Christie's, London no. 20, pp. 107-11


Given to Mrs. W. M. Rossetti by the artist; bought in 1891 by City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Associated people

Name Type
Elizabeth Siddal Artist's model
Dante Author

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