12 October 2010

Forbidden Fruit: The Goblin Market

Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat,
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town;)

Above is a fragment of the haunting poem, Goblin Market by the English poet Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894). The poem which was illustrated by her brother Pre Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rosestti (1828 -1882), is the story of two sisters. Once considered a fairy tale for children it is now regarded as an ambiguous masterpiece. One sister Laura, is offered forbidden fruit by goblin merchants which she pays for with a lock of her golden hair and a "tear more rare than pearl". The other sister Lizzie resists the sensual temptation. Ultimately Lizzie would save Laura from the wicked merchants and their poisoned fruit. Dante Gabriel Rossetti also designed a stained glass window depicting the goblins that was manufactured by The Morris Firm. A portrait of Christina was begun by English painter John Brett (1831–1902). The unfinished image has the same haunting quality as Rossetti's Goblin Market.

8 comments:

  1. Goblin Market's verses and imagery have always been quite fascinating - even a source of inspiration for some of our new designs. The layers of meaning in the poem are fun to ponder...
    S+S

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  2. Thank you S + S, I am so looking forward to seeing your new collection of forbidden fruits. Best, Kendra

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  3. Loved reading the selection from this poem, and the accompanying illustrations. I agree the portrait is haunting, and is itself of "not-returning time" ... the conjunction of the words wicked and quaint creates a mood of terror. Payment is a golden curl or tress...
    Delicious post.

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  4. OK, we really are twins.
    I adore this , Goblin Market such a favorite.
    It's a subject ripe for re-interpretation.
    Thank you Kendra!
    BabylonBaroque

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  5. Yes, Leonard I knew that as soon as I discovered your blog! xo, Kendra

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  6. You are finding the most hidden and interesting things at just the right moments.

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  7. StudioWorkshops ByTherien12 November, 2010 18:48

    Loved reading the selection from this poem, and the accompanying illustrations. I agree the portrait is haunting, and is itself of "not-returning time" ... the conjunction of the words wicked and quaint creates a mood of terror. Payment is a golden curl or tress...
    Delicious post, Kendra

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  8. Leonard D Greco Jr12 November, 2010 18:51

    Of course, l love this, such a treat! I too love the Rossetti clan, perhaps they would consider adoption...
    LG

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