Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pre-Raphaelite South London (3): Fanny Cornforth

Fanny Cornforth (1835-1906) was Dante Gabriel Rossetti's lover, before and after the death of his wife Elizabeth Siddal. At the time she met him - probably in late 1857 - she was living in a lodging house in Tenison Street, near Waterloo, and probably working as a prostitute.

By her own account she first met Rossetti in the Royal Surrey Gardens, a pleasure garden and Music Hall in Walworth (it covered the area to the west of the Walworth Road, including where where the Pullens Estate now stands). She married Timothy Hughes at St John's Church in Waterloo.

Fanny Cornforth was the model for Rossetti's 'Mary Magdelene' (below) and 'Bocca Baciata' (the Kissed Mouth), as well as for 'Merlin and Nimue' by Ned Jones.

Source: Jan Marsh, Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood (London: Quartet, 1985)

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