In 1848, with Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, they formed together the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. 'Girlhood of Mary Virgin' (1849) was the first work to bear the new movement's initials but despite receiving excellent reviews, the Brotherhood in general was harshly criticized, leading Dante Gabriel Rossetti to rarely exhibit his work again.
In 1860, Dante Gabriel Rossetti married Elisabeth Siddal who was to become the model for many of his drawings. Her pale complexion and melancholic demeanor entranced him and her face became the archetypal image of the Pre-Raphaelite style. When she died from an overdose of laudanum two years later, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was devastated and buried the bulk of his unpublished poems in her grave at Highgate Cemetery, London, though he would later have them exhumed. He painted 'Beata Beatrix' (1864) in her memory.
In 1861, with Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, together they founded ‘Morris and Co’ a furnishings and decorative arts manufacturer and retailer.
Over the last two decades of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's life, he returned to oil painting and soon found a new model in the wife of his friend William Morris, Jane Morris (born Janes Burden). But with his feelings growing ever stronger for Jane Burden and the group parted ways.
His final years were spent as a recluse, tending a range of unusual animals, and fighting a losing battle against drug and alcohol addiction and eventually died in 1882.
"For [Rossetti], the world of the imagination and the world of natural appearance were two distinct entities not to be confused. That a self-created world of the imagination can readily become too claustrophobic and too incestuous for comfort unless its creator is far-sighted and outward-looking, did not concern him." - Brian and Judy Davis in Dante Gabriel Rossetti - An Alien Victorian.