A visit to Kelmscott Manor

I’ve long been fascinated by the crazy, mixed up lifestyles of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The tales of  Wiiliam Holman Hunt; John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and their four associates have fulfilled all my romantic ideals since, as a teenager, I first saw ‘Ophelia’ by Millais.

For many years I lived a few miles from Kelmscott Manor, William Morris’ Cotswold country home bordering a tributory of the Thames. The story of how Jane Burden, a girl from humble beginnings became a muse for the Pre-Raphaelites, and in particular, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, has long captured my imagination. It is a scandalous tale of a tangled love triangle between Jane, Rossetti and Jane’s husband, the designer William Morris.

A few days ago I revisited Kelmscott. There is so much to admire: Morris’ Arts and Crafts influence and designs; Jane’s embroideries. But what captures my imagination and holds my gaze the longest is Rossetti’s portrait of Jane ‘The Blue Silk Dress.

Click on my Poetry page to read my poem inspired by their story .




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