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Rossetti Gabriel Charles Dante

Rossetti, Gabriel Charles Dante (1828-82), poet and painter, was born in London, and was the son of an Italian exile and poet. He was first sent to a private school, and afterwards to King's College, where he remained from 1835 to 1843. He had written verse from a tender age, and his first poem was privately printed in 1843. Having a taste for art, he was sent to a school of design at Bloomsbury, and then to the Royal Academy. After studying under Ford Madox Brown for a time, he took a joint studio with Holman Hunt. In 1849 his first picture was exhibited, and about the same date the famous Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded by Rossetti and a group of gifted young artists. They had a periodical called The Germ, to which he largely contributed. In 1860 Rossetti married a Miss Siddall, who had sat for some of his wonderful portraits, and her death in 1862 greatly affected him. He buried his manuscript poems with her, but his friends afterwards induced him to exhume them. Previously, in 1861, he had published a volume of fine translations from the Italian. In 1870 his Poems appeared, and in 1881 his Ballads and Sonnets. He died at Westgate-on-Sea, and was buried at Birchington, his pictures being twice exhibited after his death. He has written some beautiful ballads, and certainly his magnificent sonnets are among the noblest in the language. His brother William Michael (b. 1829) is a well-known poet and critic, and his sister Christina (1830-94) was also a remarkable poetess. Another sister, Maria Francesca, wrote A Shadow of Dante.