‘All that light might symbolize to her’: Diane’s postcard from 30 Torrington Square, London

The window from the first landing of Christina Rossetti's house, January 2010

The window from the first landing of Christina Rossetti’s house, January 2010

Why I went…

Rossetti’s 30 Torrington Square home is no longer a single-family dwelling: it has been broken into flats, and the basement floor, the former kitchen, is now the office of the chaplain of University College London.  Therefore it took some arranging by helpful people to get inside and wander about a bit.  At first, my desire to get inside was motivated by my interest in Rossetti’s last illness: breast cancer.  I knew she had undergone a mastectomy in one of its rooms, and I knew that during her last months, when dying of cancer, the drawing room became her bedroom.  I have attached a photo of a window from the inside of 30 Torrington Square, London, the residence of Christina Rossetti from September of 1876 until her death in December of 1894. I have other photos, some of me standing in front of the house, but this one has much more meaning to me.  My husband took it the second time we were able to get inside the house, which was in January of 2010.

What I got out of the experience…

After our first visit, I had come to think about how important windows must have been to her.  She spent many hours in this house and those windows would have provided light and all that light might symbolize to her.  I had even begun to think of some of her poems as types of windows.  This particular window is the first window you see when you enter the ground floor hallway. It is positioned on the first landing of the stairs.  I found myself imagining Rossetti climbing those stairs and perhaps pausing to look out the window.

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