According to my WordPress stats, one of the most popular searches on this website over the past week has been for ‘antique wombat’. Ask, I say, and you shall receive!
For your delectation, I hereby present you with one antique wombat:
According to The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, this “remarkable drawing of Jane Morris and the wombat in the British Museum illustrates the degree to which lover and pet merged in Rossetti’s mind as objects of sanctification. Each of them wears a halo. But Jane has the wombat on a leash, and it seems clear that Rossetti also used his pet wombat as a cruelly comical emblem for Jane’s long-suffering, cuckolded husband. Since university days Morris was known to his friends as ‘Topsy’; the name Rossetti chose for his Wombat was ‘Top’.”
For more on Rossetti’s pet wombat and the Victorian obsession with such things, have a read of this lecture by Harold White Fellow, Angus Trumble, given at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 16 April, 2003.