Dante Gabriel Rossetti, brother of Christina Rossetti the poet, was founder of the Praeraphaelite (as he spelt it) school of painting, as well as being an accomplished poet. He was also a great admirer of Wombats – a true vombatophile.
Below is a sketch Rossetti made of Jane Morris, a woman he was obsessed with, accompanied by a Wombat. They both sport halos.
He kept two Common Wombats both of which caused much mischief, such as digging holes in neighbours' gardens. There still exists a bye-law in Cheyne Walk, London, where Rossetti lived, banning the keeping of Wombats.
Rossetti's Wombats would climb up onto the laps of his guests. The animals would then nibble cigars and clothing as witticisms flew, or attempted to fly, around the room.
Visiting young wags would not have had their laps invaded had Rossetti kept Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons); this species is incapable of climbing as its paws, unlike those of the more dexterous Common Wombat, cannot grasp.
When “Top”, his favourite Wombat, died Rossetti had him stuffed and placed in the entrance hall.
Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus)
- this mount is displayed somewhere in Sydney.
For more information on Rossetti's relationship with Wombats go to; http://www.nla.gov.au/grants/haroldwhite/p
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882);
painter, poet, vombatophile.