Rossetti loved exotic animals and began to collect them with a passion after the tragic death of his wife Elizabeth Siddal in 1862. He had moved to 16 Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, a house with a large garden that soon became a miniature zoo. Much to the distress of his neighbours, the list of animals grew to include two wombats, owls, kangaroos, wallabies, a deer, armadillos, parakeets, peacocks, a racoon, a Canadian marmot or woodchuck, a Japanese salamander, two laughing jackasses and a zebu or small Brahminee bull. He even made enquiries about purchasing a young African elephant.
Source: The British Museum.