London: Duckworth & Co., . Single volume, measuring 6 x 3.75 inches: xv, , 192, . Original olive green cloth lettered and decorated in gilt and blind, top edge gilt, title page printed in red and black. Monochrome reproductions of Rossetti’s paintings throughout text; publisher’s advertisements at rear. Ink inscription to front free endpaper: “Isabel Swinburne / from her affectionate brother / AC Swinburne.” Manuscript corrections to pages 13 and 141. A few light spots to cloth, upper hinge cracked.
First edition of English novelist Ford Madox Ford’s critical essay on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, with a warm presentation inscription from Algernon Charles Swinburne to his sister. The grandson of painter Ford Madox Brown, who was a tutor to Rossetti, Ford Madox Ford grew up in Pre-Raphaelite circles; his aunt Lucy Madox Brown was the wife of Rossetti’s brother William. His essay acknowledges the critique of Rossetti as “an amateur who failed in two Arts,” painting and poetry, but also emphasizes Rossetti’s sympathetic appeal: “charm is the one quality that Rossetti’s work, considered as a body, can definitely and unflinchingly have claimed for it.” Rossetti met Swinburne at Oxford in 1857, during the painting of the Oxford Union murals, and the two poets became housemates in London after the death of Rossetti’s wife, Elizabeth Siddal, in 1862. At the time that Swinburne presented this essay to his sister, Rossetti had been dead for twenty years. A moving association copy, bringing together two important Victorian poets.