Frances Polidori

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Portrait of Christina Rossetti and Frances Polidori Rossetti, drawn by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Frances Mary Lavinia Polidori, later Rossetti (27 April 1800[1] – 8 April 1886[2]), is noted for her family connections rather than in her own right; in particular, two of her children were co-founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and another became a famous poet.

Frances was the daughter of Anna Maria Pierce and Italian exile Gaetano Polidori[3] and sister of John Polidori,[4] author of The Vampyre and Lord Byron's physician. A staunch Anglican herself,[1] she married the then Roman Catholic Italian exile Gabriele Rossetti in London, who also was active in the Italian Church of London. After Gabriele died she quickly burned the remaining copies of his book Il Mistero dell' Amor Platonico del Medio Evo.

Her oldest child, Maria, wrote a book about Dante Alighieri and later became an Anglican nun.

The Girlhood of Mary, Virgin by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Frances as Saint Anne, Christina Rossetti as Mary.

Her two sons, Gabriel Charles Dante (later known as Dante Gabriel Rossetti) and William Michael were among the co-founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. William Michael edited the diary of his uncle John Polidori. Frances sat for Gabriel for some of his early paintings, for example, The Girlhood of Mary, Virgin, in which she modelled for Saint Anne.

Her youngest child, Christina Georgina, became famous as a poet and is probably best known as the author of the poem Goblin Market.

Frances died in 1886 and was buried in the family plot at Highgate Cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rossetti (1970), p. 21
  2. ^ Rossetti (1970), p. 23
  3. ^ Rossetti (1970), p. 24
  4. ^ Rossetti (1970), p. 32