Rossetti - Proserpine
Proserpine
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
oil on canvas, 1874
Tate Gallery
Rossetti - Jane Morris (The Blue Silk Dress)
Jane Morris (The Blue Silk Dress)
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
oil on canvas, dated 1868
Kelmscott Manor

Possessed

Book and Lyrics by Teresa Howard

Music composed by Steven Edis

When Love Takes Possession there is No Cure.

POSSESSED is set in the bohemian art world of 19th Century London - based on the story of Jane Burden, wife of designer William Morris and muse of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

As her husband’s workshop creates a series of stained glass windows based on the legend of Tristan and Isolde, the lives of Jane and the artists become trapped in the story they are creating and eventually fall victim to its spell.

Jane was discovered in the backstreets of Oxford by Gabriel but married Morris and learned to become a “lady”. When Gabriel’s wife kills herself with an overdose of laudanum, he loses the will to paint. Morris, his great friend, offers him his wife as a model, hoping that inspiration will return.

But as Jane poses for Gabriel, her first love – artist and muse drink the love potion like the lovers they are creating. Although Morris tries to put art first his ideals start to crumble as Gabriel tips over into madness. It is left to Jane to decide between the men she loves, her children and art.

Bessy, the house-keeper, and Mr Carter, the foreman, watch the triangle of love played out before them. But these two have their own love story to paint among the artists.