Rosetti’s “very best picture” returns to City of London’s art gallery

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City of London Corporation
Credit City of London Corporation

Fresh from being featured in two major exhibitions in London and the USA, La Ghirlandata, the piece that Dante Gabriel Rosetti described as his “very best picture” has been reinstalled at the City of London Corporation-owned Guildhall Art Gallery.

La Ghirlandata was recently loaned to Tate Britain for ‘The Rossettis’ exhibitions in London and Delaware Art Museum.

The 1873 oil on canvas depicts ‘the garlanded woman’ playing an arpanetta and looking directly at the viewer. The artist’s muse for the central figure was the actor and model, Alexa Wilding.

La Ghirlandata was acquired by the City of London Corporation in 1927 for its permanent art collection and is usually displayed in the gallery’s main Victorian exhibition space.

In 2018, Bank of America awarded an Art Conservation Grant to the City Corporation to enable conservators to undertake an extensive restoration of the painting.

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Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage, and Libraries Committee, Munsur Ali, said: “I hope that visitors to Tate Britain at Millbank and Delaware Art Museum have enjoyed viewing this beautiful and engaging Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece, which has always delighted art lovers at Guildhall Art Gallery.”

“Among the many undeniably impressive Victorian and contemporary art works on display around the gallery, ‘La Ghirlandata’ is one of the jewels in its crown and one of the most iconic paintings held in our collection.”

Guildhall Art Gallery is an integral part of the City’s arts and cultural offering and forms part of the City of London Corporation’s Destination City programme. This programme sets out a vision for the Square Mile to become a world-leading leisure destination for UK and international visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.

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