‘That old affair of an article which I wrote for the Burlington Magazine in 1903 remains unsettled’ – William Michael Rossetti, March 19 1905
Earlier this year I did a bit of archive research and wrote an article about W.M. Rossetti’s relationship with the Burlington Magazine. I worked with them and they put a short, condensed version on their blog.
I admit to having a soft spot for poor William Michael, the ‘third Rossetti’, after reading Angela Thirlwell’s ‘William and Lucy: The Other Rossettis’. My work on Pre-Raphaelite women artists led me to create Lucy Madox Brown’s entry on Wikipedia soon after. So when I was looking to write for the Burlington, it seemed natural to to hunt down the answer to a question that had tantalized me for ages: why did William Michael, a prolific writer and art critic, only write a single article for The Burlington Magazine? There were many questions I asked myself as I did my research. Why did it focus on Elizabeth Siddal, when he was spending the majority of this period acting as biographer for his siblings? Was this article a PR exercise for the entire Rossetti legacy? A favour to an old friend? Did a falling out with those involved with the Burlington prevent further collaboration or is it simply coincidence that the rise of the Burlington coincided with his final retirement as an art critic? What does this article say about his place in the art world at the turn of the century and in particular, his relationship with the Burlington?
To find out the answers, you’ll have to read my article and have a glimpse into the Edwardian art world: ‘Pre-Raphaelite drawings and unpaid articles: William Michael Rossetti and The Burlington Magazine’.