Beyond the Brownings–William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919)

NPG P56; The Rossetti Family by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)© National Portrait Gallery, London

Written by Melinda Creech, Graduate Assistant, Armstrong Browning Library

William Michael Rossetti, along with his brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of English painters, poets, and critics who intended to reform art by rejecting a mechanistic approach and embracing a return to abundant detail, intense colors and complex compositions. Although employed full-time as a civil servant, William Michael managed to produce criticism, biographies, editions, and articles for the Encyclopædia Britannica.

The Armstrong Browning Library holds seven letters written by William Michael Rossetti and over thirty books, some of them rare.


Letter from William Michael Rossetti to A. H. Dooley. 12 May 1876.

 In this letter William Michael Rossetti outlines his published works.

Colles-1Colles-2Letter from William Michael Rossetti to Mr. Colles. 28 August 1898.

In this letter, William Michael Rossetti discusses  a photograph of his brother taken by Downey.

PreRaph1PreRaph2PreRaph3PreRaph4PreRaph5PreRaph6William Michael Rossetti. Ruskin: Rossetti: Preraphaelitism; Papers 1854 to 1862. London: George Allen, 1899.

This volume bears the inscription: “Two hundred and fifty copies of this edition have been printed on hand-made paper for England and America, of which this is no. 176.”