Catalogue No. 89

Artist: Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

Red and Blue Chalks 39½ x 28½ ins Signed and Dated: DGR 1869 Inscribed: PANDORA

Collection Details
T Eustace Smith by 1883; acquired by 1st Lord Faringdon at an unspecified date.

H C Marillier, D G Rossetti, 1899, No.224, p.156, n. i; V Surtees, Paintings and Drawings of D G Rossetti, 1971, No.224a, pl.319.

Exhibition Details
BFAC, 1883, No.78.

Related Pictures
A number of studies exist for the oil of 1871 commissioned by John Graham, the uncle of William Graham (see Surtees, op cit), now in a private collection.

Pandora, for whom Jane Morris was the model, is holding the box from which a vapour emerges, transforming itself into winged figures that encircle her.  On the frame is inscribed the sonnet, written by the artist for the composition, ‘What of the end, Pandora …’. Swinburne said of this sonnet that it was the most perfect and most exalted of all those done by Rossetti for his pictures, as the design itself was ‘among the mightiest in its Godlike terror and imperial trouble of beauty’.  The box was, of course, not opened by Pandora in the story, but by her husband, Epimetheus.  On the back of the drawing are two labels: a printed one signed by the artist to the effect that care should be taken in removing the drawing from its frame as it was not ‘set’, and a second which reads: No.78 Pandora.  This design has been several times replicated or drawn, but No.78 is the original (S.191).  The origin of the latter is not clear, but presumably it dates from the 1883 exhibition, in which the drawing was numbered 78.