The figure represents Proserpine as the Empress of Hades. Proserpine was conveyed to Pluto's realm, where she became his bride. Her mother Ceres pleaded with Jupiter to return her to earth. Jupiter agreed providing she had not partaken of any of the fruit of Hades. However, she had eaten a single pomegranate grain and thus had to remain in the underworld.There are no fewer than eight versions of this composition, though few were completed, and they are all inscribed with Rossetti's poem of the same title. The doomed classical heroine is modelledon Jane Morris, with whom Rossetti had established an intimate relationship by July 1869. This version was painted for L. R. Valpy Esq. as a copy, on a reduced scale, of the Tate version. It was finished at Birchington, just a few days before Rossetti's death.

  • Presented by the Trustees of the Public Picture Gallery Fund, 1927.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
- bottom left Painted -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Pictures, Drawings, Designs and Studies by the Late Dante Gabriel Rossetti
92 Burlington Fine Arts Club, London 1883 - 1883
Ten Decades - A Review of British Taste, 1851-1951
97 RBA Galleries, London 1951 - 1951
The Pre-Raphaelites
151 Tate Gallery, London 1984-03-07 - 1984-05-28
Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
41 Hong Kong Museum of Art 1984-10-20 - 1984-12-02
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
91 Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo 1990-09-22 - 1990-11-14
91 Aichi Prefectural Art Gallery, Nagoya 1990-11-17 - 1990-12-09
91 Ishibashi Museum of Art, Kurume 1991-01-08 - 1991-02-14
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, England
111 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington 1995-03-09 - 1995-05-07
111 Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio 1995-05-27 - 1995-07-16
111 Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington 1995-08-11 - 1995-10-15
111 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1995-11-04 - 1996-01-02
111 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia 1996-01-23 - 1996-04-10
111 Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery 1996-05-25 - 1996-09-29
The Age of Rossetti, Burne-Jones and Watts: Symbolism in Britain 1860-1910
46 Tate Gallery, London 1997-10-16 - 1998-01-04
The Blue Bower: Rossetti in the 1860s
12 The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, The University of Birmingham 2000-10-27 - 2001-01-14
12 The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachussetts 2001-02-11 - 2001-05-06
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
155 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 2003-10-16 - 2004-01-18
155 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam 2004-02-27 - 2004-06-06


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 303; pp. 172-74, 184, 199.
A Victorian Romantic: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Oswald Doughty 1949 Frederick Muller, London p. 636.
City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham: Catalogue of Paintings
1960 City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham p. 128.
Christie's Sale Catalogue, 20 October 1970
1970 Christie's, London no. 44.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882, The Paintings and Drawings: A Catalogue Raisonne
Virginia Surtees 1971 Oxford University Press, London vol. 1, no. 233R3, pp. 133-34.
The Pre-Raphaelites
Leslie Parris 1984 Tate Gallery Publishing and Penguin Books, London pp. 231-32.
Christie's Sale Catalogue, 27 November 1987
1987 Christie's, London no. 140.
The Blue Bower: Rossetti in the 1860s
Paul Spencer-Longhurst 2000 Scala Publishers, London no. 12
The Age of Rossetti, Burne-Jones and Watts: Symbolism in Britain 1860-1910
Andrew Wilton, Robert Upstone 1997 Tate Gallery Publishing, London pp. 159-60.
The Blue Bower: Rossetti in the 1860s
Paul Spencer-Longhurst 2000 Scala Publishers Ltd., London p. 58.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
2003 Waanders, Zwolle p. 217.


Leonard. R. Valpy; William Imrie; Imrie sale, Christie's 28 June 1907 (lot 135), £462; Christie's, 29 May 1908 (lot 477) bought by Colonel James B. Gaskell for £477; Christie's, 30 April 1926 (lot 150), bought by Sampson for £357; bought by Public Picture Gallery Fund for £550, presented to Bimingham Museum and Art Gallery in 1927.

Associated people

Name Type
Jane Morris Artist's model

Related work & resources

Discuss this work

Start a discussion about this work.

You need to login to discuss this work. Click here to login.

If you are not yet registered click here to become a member.
Find out more about membership