Christina Rossetti was born in London in December 1830. Her Italian parents, who arrived in London as political asylum seekers from Naples, had four children, including artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, writer and critic William Michael Rossetti and the author Maria Francesca Rossetti. Both of her bothers were members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and as a young woman Rossetti posed for some of their paintings, most famously perhaps for The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849).
Under the pseudonym, Ellen Alleyne, some of Rossetti’s early poems were published in The Germ, the Pre-Raphaelite journal edited by William, however, it wasn’t until she was 31 years old that her most famous collection Goblin Market and Other Poems was published to much critical acclaim. Rossetti was an intensely religious individual and much of her work is influenced by these beliefs. She also spent much of her life volunteering at a home for prostitutes in London. She died in 1894 after developing terminal cancer the year before.