1800 – 1886
Who was Frances Polidori?
Frances Mary Lavinia Polidori, later Rossetti, 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 and sister of John Polidori, author of The Vampyre and Lord Byron's physician. A staunch Anglican herself, 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 two sons, Gabriel Charles Dante 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 to Gabriel for some of his early paintings, for example, The Girlhood of Mary, Virgin, in which she modelled for Saint Anne.
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