Christina Rossetti’s (1830-1894) poetry has inspired visual artists since it first began to be published in the 1840s. Artists who made designs to accompany her poetry in illustrated books include her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Frederick Sandys, Arthur Hughes, Laurence Housman and later Florence Harrison, Lucien Pissarro and Charles Ricketts. Those who engraved these designs include the prolific Dalziel Brothers firm and Joseph Swain.

This Autumn Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village will hold the exhibition ‘Christina Rossetti: Vision and Verse’, which is accompanied by a new publication Christina Rossetti: Poetry in Art (edited by Dr Susan Owens and Dr Nicholas Tromans, Yale University Press). To coincide with the exhibition, this two-day symposium will bring together established and emerging scholars in the field to examine Rossetti’s work in the context of the nineteenth-century illustrated poetry book.  How did poets collaborate with publishers and artists in the production of illustrated poetry books? What role does ornament play in the formation of meaning? How did women poets work with illustrators and publishers?

We welcome proposals for papers and will be particularly interested in the following topics:

  • The Pre-Raphaelite Illustrated Poetry Book
  • The Illustrated Decadent Book
  • The Illustrated Poetry Book in the Digital Age
  • In the engravers’ workshop: The Dalziel Brothers and the Illustrated Poetry Book
  • Ornament, Colour, and Lines: the Visual Culture of Poetry
  • Poetry as Collaboration
  • Women Poets and Women Illustrators
  • Christina Rossetti as a visual artist
  • Christina Rossetti and the Ut Pictura Poesis Tradition
  • Christina Rossetti, Illustrated.

Abstracts of 350 words and biographies of no more than 100 words should be sent to Tessa Kilgarriff at  by Monday 8 October 2018.  Papers should be 20 minutes in length.

Supported by the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS):

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