For a couple of years I’ve had an idea at the back of my mind to do a drawing based on Christina Rossetti’s 1859 poem Goblin Market as part of my Acid Renaissance series.
It’s a poem that has been interpreted in multiple different ways over the years.
The British Library’s introduction to the poem, written by Dr Dinah Roe (Senior Lecturer in 19th century literature at Oxford Brookes University) states:
The 20th-century revival of interest in the poem opened the floodgates for Feminist, Marxist, Freudian, Queer Theory and New Historicist critiques which variously interpreted the poem as a warning about the dangers of a free-market economy, a protest against hazardous practices in 19th-century food-adulteration, a Christian tale of sacrifice and salvation, a parable of lesbian empowerment, a fable about anorexia, an expression of incestuous yearning and a tribute to the delicious oral and aural pleasures of poetry itself. ‘Goblin Market’ has continued to thrive in the academic marketplace. The poem continues to attract critical interpretations and artistic adaptations as colourful and diverse as the goblin merchants’ wares, challenging Christina Rossetti’s surely disingenuous claim that she ‘did not mean anything profound by this fairytale’.
The sketch at the top of this post is my first study for the piece, from a life-drawing done last week. I’ll hopefully be doing some more studies this weekend.