The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Lucy Madox Rossetti, 1843-1894

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1843.07.19
Place of Birth: Paris
Date of Death: 1894.04
Place of Death: San Remo, Italy


Lucy Madox Rossetti, née Brown, was a painter. She was the daughter of the artist Ford Madox Brown and his first wife Elisabeth Bromley. Her mother died in September 1846. She gained a half-sister Catherine (1850–1927), who married the author and music critic Francis Hueffer (1843–89), and a half-brother Oliver (1855–74), from her father's mistress and second wife Emma Hill. In 1874 Lucy married the art critic, biographer and bibliographer William Michael Rossetti. Their first child was born in 1875, the second in 1877, the third in 1879 and twins in 1881. However, one of the twins died in infancy.


Lucy, along with her siblings, worked in her father's studio in the 1860s and acted as his model and assistant. Marie Spartali was also a pupil with them. Lucy's first exhibited work was shown at the Dudley Gallery in 1869 (Painting, untraced). She exhibited watercolours and oils, mainly figure compositions drawn from modern life, literature and history in a decorative style close to her father's, from 1869 until 1874 at the R.A. and the Dudley Gallery in London (see Romeo and Juliet in the Tomb, 1870, Wightwick Manor). Her father, brother and sister were frequently her models. After becoming a mother she painted less and in 1885 began to suffer from tuberculosis. In 1889 she signed the national petition for woman's suffrage. In 1890 she published a biography of Mary Shelley. She also wrote an unpublished biography of her father.

The Rossettis were frequently to be found in Whistler's company, being invited to his breakfasts and social gatherings, W. M. Rossetti having been one of the earliest champions of Whistler. In 1867 he resigned from the Burlington Fine Arts Club along with D. G. Rossetti in protest at Whistler's expulsion and in 1878 he appeared on Whistler's behalf during the Whistler-Ruskin trial.


Rossetti, Lucy Madox, 'Ford Madox Brown', Magazine of Art, vol. 13, 1890, pp. 289-96; Rossetti, L. M., Mrs Shelley, London, 1890.

Hardinge, William M., 'A Reminiscence of Mrs W. M. Rossetti', Magazine of Art, vol. 18, 1895, pp. 341-46; Hueffer, F. M., Ford Madox Brown: A Record of his Life and Work, London, 1896; Hueffer, F. M., 'The Younger Madox Browns', Artist, vol. 19, February 1897, pp. 49-56; Rossetti, W. M., Some Reminiscences, 2 vols, London, 1906; Surtees, Virginia (ed.), The Diary of Ford Madox Brown, New Haven, 1981; Marsh, Jan, and Pamela Gerrish Nunn, Women Artists and the Pre-Raphaelite Movement, London, 1989; Marsh, J., and P. G. Nunn, Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists, exhibition catalogue, Manchester City Art Galleries, 1997; Gaze, Delia (ed.), Dictionary of Women Artists, 2 vols, London and Chicago, 1997.